L I E> RARY
THE EARL'S PROMISE.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
THE EARL'S PROMISE.
GEOEGE GEITH," "TOO MUCH ALONE," "HOME, SWEET HOME,
IN THREE VOLUMES.
TINSLEY BROTHERS. 8 CATHERINE STREET, STRAND.
[All rights of Trantlatioi} and Saproduvfion are Eeserred.']
FEINTED Bf TATLOE AND CO.,
LITTLE QtTEEN STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
THE THIRD VOLUME.
LEFT ALL ALONE
BREAKING THE ICE
GRACE TELLS HER STORY . . . .
ALMOST TOO LATE
MR. Brady's ex-projects . . . .
KINGSLOUGH IS PLACARDED
GRACE VISITS MARYVILLE . . . .
A RAY OF LIGHT
IN THE NIGHT-WATCHES . . . .
THE EAKL'S PEOMISE
LEFT ALL ALONE.
Between them, Drs. Murney and Connelley
devised some plan of treatment designed to
comfort Dr. Girvan, to provide the inmates of
Bayview with an ideal occupation, and to
impress Grace with the conviction that nothing
which could be done to save her father was
being left undone.
True to his determination. Dr. Girvan, spite
of all entreaties to the contrary, broke the news
of Mr. Moffat's danger to his daughter, accusing
himself, at the same time, with having been
the cause of that danger.
^'Ye trusted me," he said, in that homely
VOL. III. B
The EarPs Pn
Irish accent which is never so sweet as when
the speaker is in trouble and breathes a
pathetic tone with every word, — " Ye trusted
me, and this is how I've recompensed ye ; and
all because of my own hatred — God forgive
me ! — and my own conceit. Had it been Dr.
Murney or Connelley that said I was wrong,
I'd have listened to either of them ; but as it
is, my heart is breaking to think about you
Into the old, honest face, puckered with
emotion, into the eyes that had looked at her
with a kindly light in them so often, Grace
gazed for a minute. She was not so besotted
with her own grief that she failed to see the
bitterer grief of another, that she could note
unmoved the anguish of repentance that had
rendered this old man who made his tremulous
confession almost beside himself with remorse ;
and though tears lay too high for her to trust
herself to answer him verbally, she took his
hand in both of hers, with a pitying gesture,
more eloquent than any form of speech.
Had Doctor Girvan been the most consum-
Left All Alone,
mate diplomatist, instead of an honest, well-
meaning, behind- the-age old man, he could not
have hit on a plan better calculated to retain
Grace's kindly feeling than that of a free and
After all, it is never what a person tells of
himself, but what others say of him, that
damages him materially. The frank plea of
guilty takes the worst of the sting out of many
a social as well as legal crime.
It may not be the highest nature which is
ready to confess to man, but it is nevertheless
the sort of nature man likes best ; and whereas,
had Dr. Girvan failed to take the whole of the
blame on his own shoulders, she would have
retained an exceeding bitter remembrance of
his determined rejection of Mr. Hanlon's
opinion, she never, as matters now stood,
thought in the future of her father's life sacri-
ficed as it was to old tradition, without at the
same time recalling the picture of an aged man's
anguished face while he in the same breath
entreated her forgiveness and blamed himself
for having caused her such misery.
The EarPs P.
Further, Drs. Murney and Coimelley,
shocked at so open a display of professional
insufficiency, lack of reticence, and disregard
of medical etiquette, deeming it best to make
out as good a case for their fellow-practitioner
as his imbecile and indiscreet revelations left
possible, took immediate opportunity to efface
as far as might be the impression such a direful
abuse of common discretion was calculated to
Between them they succeeded in sketching
and filling in a very creditable series of facts
founded on fiction ; that is to say, the general
conclusion at which they arrived was right,
though the premises on which those conclusions
were founded were wrong.
The case, they assured her, was a most
obscure one. How far Dr. Girvan had been
right in his course of treatment they could not
tell, owing to the length of time which elapsed
between Mr. Moffat's attack and their own
arrival ; but there was no doubt he had medical
precedent of the highest authority for all he
did, and if he erred, it was from no lack of
Left All Alone.
skill or prudence, but simply because nature
bad cbosen to clotbe tbe complaint in a dress
similar to that worn by a totally distinct
disease; Mr. ^ Hanlon's diagnosis of tbe
case migbt not really bave been one wbit more
correct tban Dr. Gir van's ; and finally tbey
assured Miss Moffat tbat everytbing wbicb
could be done bad been done, and sbould be
done. '^ If skill and attention can save bim,"
said Dr. Murney '^be will be spared to you."
And tbey left Grace, tbinking tbey bad glossed
over tbe little error in judgment very neatly.
Mr. Hanlon lingered bebind tbem for a
moment. He bad all a young man's entbusi-
asm for trutb being always presented as a
nude figure, and bis public experiences of
stating unpleasant facts witbout tbe sligbtest
atom of clotbing veiling tbeir deformity tended
undoubtedly to encourage tbis outspoken frank-
ness on disagreeable topics.
For bis life be could not see wbat good pur-
pose tbe doctors proposed to effect by mystify-
ing Miss Moffat as to ber fatber's state.
'-'- Tbey are raising false bopcs," be tbougbt,
The EarPs Promise,
and so waited to hear what remark Grace
might have to make.
Doctor Murney's last words, which Dr.
Connelley ratified with an approving smile,
had been, ^' If skill and attention can save him,
he will be spared to you."
'^ And what do you say, Mr. Hanlon?" she
^^ You have heard what Dr. Murney's
opinion is," he answered.
" Yes, and I think I know what it is worth.
The promise contained in his words will be
kept to the ear and broken to the heart. Be
frank with me, Mr. Hanlon ; it is so, is it not ? "
^' I do not like to answer you," he said.
"But what is the use of deceiving me ? "
" None," was his answer.
"You believe, then, there is no hope ?"
" I believe nothing can save him," he said
slowly. " But we will all do our best, you
may be sure of that. Miss Moffat."
" Thank you," she answered. The words
were nothing, but the tone in which she
Left All Alone,
spoke them went straight to the surgeon's
"I wish that idiot Guwan had been dead
and buried rather than he shouki have meddled
in the case," thought the surgeon. '^ And yet,
perhaps, it is as well. A few years might
have been added to this man's life, but how
could he have found enjoyment in them, with
the dread of this dogging his path ? Better
as it is," decided Mr. Hanlon philosophically.
Like many other social reformers, his ideas
about the value of life were extremely lax.
The nation, the race, the world, posterity, these
were the objects he desired to benefit.
What did a few or many lives matter, pro-
viding the grand result were obtained ? What
mattered it whether thousands died broken-
hearted, if by the travail of their souls millions
yet unborn tasted the delights of perfect equality
of (this was a telling platform phrase, perhaps
because there is no country — unless, indeed, it
may be Scotland, where there is less uncovering,
except amongst the beggars, than in Ireland)
— ^' doffing their hats to no man."
8 The EarPs Promise,
Mr. Hanlon said, and doubtless thouglit lie
spoke the truth, he would cheerfully lay down
his life to emancipate Ireland.
There is a considerable difference, however,
between abstract propositions and actual prac-
tice. When the time came that Mr. Hanlon's
chances of existence seemed jeopardized, he
proved himself as solicitous to extend his
days as the veriest aristocrat might have
IN'evertheless his theories on the subject being
that as a man had to die some time, it did not
much matter when he died, he began after a
time to consider that perhaps it was quite as
well Mr. Moffat should not recover.
He had been a negative quantity ever since
his arrival in Ireland. He had not done any
harm, but he had not done any good. He
occupied the place where a better man might
stand, or which no man might advantageously
fail to occupy.
A woman with money, a willing heart, an
open hand, was of ten times more use in her
generation than a man. Perhaps he had in his
Left All Alone,
Baind the old saying, ''When women reign —
At any rate, he thought he could find a use
for much of Miss Moffat*s income, not a use so
far as he personally was concerned ; he was
not mercenary; good things he desired, but
those it was beyond the power of gold to pur-
chase. ^N'o, he would relieve the poor, he would
advance the cause, he would drive the wedge
destined to split up ''the dynasty of op^^res-
sion," and Grace's money would help him to
She could not well now refuse to recognize
him as a friend. His knowledge of society
was so sKght, he had not the faintest idea two
such alien barks as his and hers might come
nigh together, and have for a few hours a
common interest and then part, " like a dream
on the wide deep." He railed against society ;
but of its ideas, customs, habits of thought,
modes of action, he was ignorant as a child.
Already he had sketched out a course of
action for Grace and himself — arranged the
pecuniary part she was to play in the drama,
lo The EarPs Promise,
and the various modes in wliicli her money
would enable him better to enact the character
he had elected to fill.
His interest, professionally, in Mr. Moffat
had departed. He could do nothing for him —
no one could do anything for him. He had
even in the course of his limited experience
beheld nature achieve triumphs of medical
skill, which set science and all previous calcu-
lations utterly at nought, but his conviction
was, that in this case nature meant to let
matters take their course.
" She has been meddled with and thwarted,'^
he consMered ; ^' but for Doctor Girvan perhaps
she might have had a chance, at all events we
should have been left time in which to try our
treatment. As matters are he is doomed. A
few hours more and the master of Bay view will
be wiser than the wisest man on earth. He
will know more than any of us.- '
Which really might be considered an almost
reluctant admission on the part of Mr. Hanlon's
mind, not because his theology was defective,
but because his self-conceit was so great, it
Left All Alone, ir
actually touched his vanity to think a man like
Mr. Moffat would know more in the next world
than he knew in this.
'-^ I have done all I could in the matter, that
is certain," he said as a finish to his reflec-
tions; and Grace being in the sick-room, he
went downstairs to join Drs. Murney and Con-
nelley at breakfast.
Let death be ever so active in one place, life
will be equally active in another, and the fact
that the master of the house could never again
welcome a guest nor issue a command did not in
the smallest degree affect the a^Dpetites of the
men who had come so far to strive and save
Doctor Girvan, indeed, saying it would
choke him to ^^take bite or sup," had hurried
home to secure a few hours' quiet before the
business of the day began ; but the night air
and the long drive and ride, and the sharp
morning air which blew crisp and cold over
Bayview, sharpened the relish with which
the two strange doctors looked on the well-
laden table that gladdened their eyes when
The EarPs Promise,
they entered the dining-room after their inter-
view with Grace.
As for Mr. Hanlon, he was young; he
dined early ; he never supped ; he did not
often treat himself to the luxury of sitting up
all night — in a word, breakfast was still break-
fast to him, let who could not help it die, let
who would live.
" A most capital cut of beef!" remarked Dr.
Mumey, returning from the sideboard with his
plate replenished for the third time ; " Con-
nelley, let me persuade you."
" Eemember I am not a sea-bird like you,
and fish fresh out of the water is a treat to
me. Ah! poor Moffat, how particular he
used to be about the fish that came to his
table ! "
And the speaker shook his head and helped
himself to another slice of broiled salmon.
" That was a sad mistake of Girvan's !" said
Dr. Murney, looking round the room, to make
sure the respectable servant who had been told
they '^ would see to themselves " was nowhere
Left All Alone, 13
^^ Never kept himself up with the times/'
explained Dr. Connelley.
^'But, gentlemen," interrupted Mr. Hanlon,
*' if nature is always changing her diseases
with the times, how is a doctor to keep himself
posted up with regard to her latest ailment ?"
" Nature does not change. Her diseases
may be modified or extended by circum-
stances," said Dr. Mumey, ^^ but her laws are
immutable. Science, however, finds out that
diseases once classed under the same head may
be separated ; may be — must be ; and a me-
dical man ought to keep himself abreast of
science. For instance, no doubt hundreds and
thousands of persons suffering like Mr. Moffat
have been treated up to quite recent times for
apoplexy, and died under that treatment."
" Pleasant !" ejaculated Mr. Hanlon.
^' Inevitable," said Dr. Connelley, with phi-
losophical composure. And after all he was
right ; the knowledge of those days would be
deemed ignorance now.
'' I will drive over to-morrow," remarked
Dr. Murney, who, having finished his break-
14 The EarPs Promise,
fast, was drawing on his gloves preparatory to
that return journey which was to be made
once again in Mr. Moffat's tax-cart, with
one of Mr. Moffat's horses. ^^ Although in-
deed — " the pause was as significant as the
^' And I will come too, if I can," added Dr.
Connelley ; '-'' but I am afraid — " once again
an ellipsis, which Mr. Hanlon filled up at his
'-^ I suppose you will watch the case ? " sug-
gested Dr. Murney.
^^ "With Girvan ? yes. He and I had a quarrel
last night, but I will not desert the poor old
'^ Ah, well, you need not fear having to wait
long for the end," observed Dr. Connelley.
^* It is a question of hours. He may be alive
when we come to-morrow — but I think myself
he cannot last out the day."
^'He will go with the first or second ebb
tide, I should say," corrected Dr. Murney;
^' most likely the second. Certainly I should
say not the third."
Left All Alone. 15
There was one question Mr. Hanlon wanted
to ask before they left.
"No doubt,'' he began, "Miss Moffat will
wish to send for the rector ; if she does, what
am I to say ? "
Dr. Murney took a pinch of snuff and
looked at Dr. Connelley. Dr. Connelley looked
out of the window and made no sign.
" I think," answered the former imeasily,
I should let her send for the rector, and explain
the position to him."
" Precisely. But what is the position ? He
will never be conscious again."
" In this world," amended Dr. Connelley.
"In this world," repeated Dr. Murney,
taking off his hat as if he were in a church.
There was a moment's respectful silence.
Then said Dr. Miu-ney, as if he conceived
affairs which strictly speaking belonged to
the clergy had been encroached upon by
"Of course, Mr. Hanlon, had Dr. Connelley
and I considered there was the remotest chance
of a restoration to consciousness, we should at
1 6 The EarPs Pro7nise.
once have advised Miss Moffat to send for her
"With which utterance Dr. Murney took his
''So it is," thought Mr. Hanlon, after he
had seen Dr. Connelley mounted and answered
his farewell wave of the hand ; '' So it is ; the
law first — God after. "
Till the great assize is over, who may tell how
these apparent incongruities shall be settled;
how the toil and trouble a man often entails on
those who are to come after is quite compatible
with a quiet death-bed and the rules of eternal
To me it has always seemed that the person
who, having time and inclination to make his
peace with Heaven, as the not inappropriate
phrase has it, makes that peace, and leaves
mundane affairs to conduct themselves, must
have failed in his worldly trust, must have
neglected to put out at interest some of those
talents with which he was entrusted.
In my poor opinion the doctors were right,
and Mr. Hanlon wrong. A man, to all
Left All Alone. 17
ordinary ways of thinking, ought not to be
able to turn his eyes with a steady gaze
heavenward so long as there is anything on
earth demanding his attention, and yet it may
be that when the supreme moment has arrived,
and this world is vanishing, and another open-
ing, it may be then, I say, that not merely do
the most important projects of this life dwarf
into insignificance, but that a glimpse is
caught of that perfect faith which enables its
possessor to leave the welfare of the nearest
and dearest to him in higher hands than those
Upon no other supposition does it appear to
me possible to account for the supine selfishness
with which those who have worldly goods to
leave sometimes fold their hands and remain
tranquil, whilst five minutes devoted to tem-
poral matters might save miseries and heart-
Mr. Hanlon's speech, however, was prompted
quite as much by the spirit of opposition as of
religion. Had the other doctors suggested
sending for a clergyman, he would most
VOL. III. c
1 8 Tht EarPs Promise.
probably have mentally sneered at ^' old women
who believed in the efficacy of a death-bed
^^ Show me how a man lived, and I will tell
you how he died," was one of his favourite
quotations ; and yet now, when he came face to
face with a death which allowed no instant of
preparation, he could not help admitting — he
was not the advanced Eepublican of these
times, recollect — there must be something in
the almost universal desire human beings feel
to be permitted to linger, if only for a few
minutes, on the shores of that mighty ocean
which washes on the one side the fair land of
life, and on the other the hidden mysteries of
So far as Mr. Moffat's temporal affairs were
concerned, he had left nothing to be settled in
a hurry at the last hour of his existence. In
the methodical, self-contained life he had led
there was no sign to indicate the manner of
death he should die. Probably he himself
never imagined for a moment he should be
called upon to leave this world except in the
most orderly and usual manner.
Left All Alone, 19
^Nevertheless his affairs were in perfect
order. All the attorneys and accountants
in Ireland conld not have put them in more
Concerning other matters, who could tell?
Himself and his Maker alone knew how far
the peremptory summons found him ready to
leave a world which had always heen a pleasant
one to the owner of Bayview.
The clergyman was sent for and came, but
it all turned out as Dr. Murney had predicted.
The tide ebbed, and the tide flowed ; when
it ebbed again his soul set forth on a longer
and more awful voyage than mortal mariner
Little more than thirty hours had passed
since Grrace walked slowly homeward from the
Lone Eock, and yet the whole current and
colour of her life was changed. The simbeams
danced merrily on the waters, the sea rippled
in once more upon the shore, the trees and
shrubs shook out their green foliage, and the
air was almost heavy with the rich perfumes
of summer. In the distance the hills seemed
20 The EarPs Promise.
almost to melt into the soft blue of the sky.
Everywhere there was beauty, and gladness,
and sunshine, but Grace saw nothing of the
beauty, felt nothing of the gladness. Over
the house there brooded the shadow of mighty
wings, for the angel of death had paused in his
flight ; one whose voice had been so suddenly
stilled lay silent within; he who had been
master there might dwell in that pleasant abode
— ^never more.
The summer was gone and early autumn had
come before Grace Moffat walked beyond the
precincts of Bay view. Sorrow not sickness had
kept her solitary. With the bitterness of her
grief she could not endure friends or strangers
to meddle, and so all alone she bore the first
brunt of her trouble, all alone she formed her
plans, rooted up the old projects and fanciful
aims of her past life, and, spite of her former
convictions on the subject of absenteeism, deter-
mined to leave Ireland, if not for ever, at all
events for a considerable period.
In truth, without sacrificing her liberty she
could not well have remained there.
22 The EarPs Promise,
Although in the eyes of Kingslough she was
fast verging towards the sere and yellow leaf
period of life, she was not old enough to set
Mrs. Grundy at defiance and reside at Bayyiew
without a duenna, and that was an encum-
brance Grace had no desire to burden herself
with. Further, she knew that every eligible
man within reach would rush to offer her con-
solation in the first instance, and his hand in
the second ; and that mothers would outvie
each other in offering to supply a father's place
to so eligible a daughter-in-law as herself.
She was of course a much more desirable
investment in the matrimonial market than
had been the case during her father's life-
time. All he once possessed was hers now
unreservedly ; and amongst men in search of
rich wives, the increased value of Miss Moffat's
hand might readily have been computed by a
All this Grace felt bitterly. Now when she
wanted a friend as she had never wanted one
before, she found herself surrounded by those
who all, she suspected, held a second purpose
concealed behind their kindly advances.
Saying Good- bye, 12>
Perhaps she wronged the impulses of many
a warm heart by this idea, but money was an
article truly needed at that time amongst the
Irish gentry. Heiresses were scarce, encum-
bered estates numerous. So to speak, the
bulk of the old families were in a state of in-
solvency, and driven to their wits' ends to
avert the final catastrophe which the famine
only precipitated, which it alone certainly
never could have induced amongst an aristo-
cracy already tottering to the verge of ruin.
How were the heirs of impoverished estates
covered with debt as with a garment to mend
their position except by marriage ?
Every profession was overstocked; they
could not go into trade. Even had they pos-
sessed the requisite ability necessary to carry
on a business successfully, the prejudices of
the country must have deterred them from
attempting to mend matters by a move in that
A few went to India, where some succeeded
and others died. Australia and the West
Indies absorbed most of the adventurous or
24 The EarPs Promise,
speculative youth of the period. In Australia
they led a not disagreeable life, spite of hard-
ships they certainly never could have endured
at home. In the West Indies success resolved
itself into a game at hazard with death. If death
won, why they died, and there was an end of
it ; if they won, they won wealth as well.
For the male gentry who remained at home
on the ancestral acres, there were but two
courses open. One to marry a girl without
money, and so hasten the advent of ruin ; the
other to marry a girl with money, and so defer
to another generation that bankruptcy which
it was impossible could be averted for ever.
In such a state of society the woman herself
counted for very little. Love matches were
made, it is true, every day, and resulted in a
good deal of domestic unhappiness, pinching,
saving, meanness, and an infinite number of
children ; but in those cases where love and
prudence might have been supposed able to
travel together, prudence turned love out of
court, and no heiress, let her be as good and
beautiful as she pleased, could make quite sure
Saying Good-bye, 25
whether it were she who was being wooed, or
the comfortable thousands the care and affection
of some exceptionally fortunate ancestor had
saved for her benefit.
Had she been deaf, humpbacked, lame,
afflicted with a squint, eighty years of age, an
heiress need not have despaired of attracting
When sons were shy or indifferent, when
they seemed inclined to balk, as a hunting
gentleman described their reluctance to go
wooing, mothers courted sometimes not un-
successfully in their stead ; and had Grace been
one of the blood royal, she could scarcely have
had greater attention showered upon her than
was the case once the funeral was over and
the terms of her father's will known.
But to visitors Grace sedulously denied
herself; invitations she steadily refused to
accept, with the exception of one which she
took time to consider.
It came from Mrs. Hartley, and was couched
in these words : —
" I have been thinking much about you and
26 The EarPs Promise,
your position, and putting my own selfish
wishes on one side, really and truly believe
the best thing you can do is to come to me for
a time. If you stay where you are you will
be driven to marry some one. The day must
come when in utter weariness of saying 'No,'
you will say ' Yes ; ' not because you care
much for the suitor, or he is especially eligible,
but because you feel one husband is preferable
to a host of lovers.
''"We shall not bore each other; you shall
go your way, and I shall continue on mine.
" We will travel if you like ; I shall not
herald your arrival amongst my friends in the
character of an heiress, be sure of that. I
have no pet young man free of the house to
whom I wish to see you married. Come and
try the experiment, at all events. If you still
preserve your Utopian ideas on the subject of
Ireland's regeneration, it may be as well for
you, before you begin the work, to see that
the inhabitants of another country really
manage to keep their doorsteps white — and
their children's hair combed without the
Saying Good-bye, 27
intervention of philantliropists like yourself,
or demagogues like Mr. Hanlon. By the way,
I hope you are not getting entangled in that
" No doubt the young man is clever, and
behaved well at the time of your poor father's
attack ; but still, these are no reasons why he
should marry your father's daughter.
^' It would not do J Grace. If by your
marriage to such a man you were able to ensure
a meat dinner every day to all the tenant
farmers in Ireland, you would find even that
desirable result dearly purchased at the cost of
so unsuitable an alliance. I do you the justice
to feel certain your heart is unaffected, but the
circumstances have been propitious for touching
your fancy ; and I know of old what a snare
that lively imagination you possess is capable
^' Talking of imagination, what has become
of the handsome hero of your teens? What
has he done ? What is he doing ? I see the
young earl is dead ; and I understand that
where the sapling fell it is to lie, as the means
The EarVs Promise,
of the family do not permit of a second grand
funeral within so short a time. Opinions h^re
are divided as to the chances of Mr. Eobert
Somerford succeeding to the title.
'^ Some persons say the new earl is privately
married and has a family, others that he will
marry, others that he is and has always been
single, that he has one foot in the grave and
will shortly have another in likewise. It is a
case in which I should decline to advise if you
asked my opinion.
^^ If you marry Eobert Somerford he may be
Earl of Glendare. If you wait till he is Earl
of Glendare, you may never be Countess of
Glendare. And indeed I shall not desire to
see you raised to the peerage. I do not think
greatness would sit easily upon your shoulders.
I believe you would be far happier married to
some honest, honourable man in our own rank
of life than you could be amongst the nobility.
But there is no honest, honourable young man
in our own rank of life residing near here
whose cause I wish to plead, so you will be
quite safe in coming to me. Will you think
the matter over and come ? "
Saying Good-bye. 29
Which letter Grace, after having thought
the matter over, answered in these words : —
*' I will go to you. Amongst all the people
I know, there is no one I trust so fully, I
believe in so implicitly as I do in you. I will
let Bayview furnished. I will set my affairs
in order, and leave the dear old place which
has grown hateful to me — temporarily only, I
hope — for I should like, when I have advanced
sufficiently in age, to wear caps, and set the
world's opinions at defiance, to return to
Ireland, and spend my declining years and my
income amongst mine ' ain folk.'
^^"Were I a stronger-minded woman, I
suppose I should be able to conquer my grief
and defy public criticism by starting on what
you would call a career of philanthropy ; but
sorrow and the world, this little world of
Kingslough, are, I confess, too much for me.
As you say, I believe I should marry out of
mere weariness of spirit.
" My pensioners I shall leave to Mrs. Larkin,
who will rejoice in seeing the poor crowd round
her door like robins in the winter.
30 The EarPs Promise,
"If anything were capable of making me
laugh now, I should laugh at your idea of
there being the slightest tender feeling between
me and Mr. Hanlon. It is because by some
nameless instinct I comprehend he never could
by any chance care for me that I have seen
more of him since my irreparable loss than has
been perhaps, situated as I am, quite wise. I
do not mean that he has called here often, or
that I have chanced to meet him more than
two or three times in my solitary walks by the
seashore ; but still you know what all small
places are, what this small place is especially.
^^Kingslough has talked, is talking — Kings-
lough says my head is turned, and that I am
bent jon flinging myself and my money away on
a man who, some say — you remember Kings-
lough was always remarkable for its vehemence
of expression, ' should be drummed out of the
town ' — and others think worthy of being — do
not faint at the phrase, it is not mine — ^ strung
"I have told you that I am positive Mr.
Hanlon has no intention, even for the weal of
Saying Good-dye, 31
the nation, of ever asking me to marry Mm ;
and yet I have an uneasy conviction he has
some purpose to serve in cultivating better
relations between us, which purpose I cannot
at present divine. Moreover, I fear he has not
given so direct a denial to those rumours which
have bracketed his name and mine in such an
undesirable connection as I think, were I a
man, I should have done under similiar circum-
stances. Kingslough says positively I have
lost my heart and my senses — of the state of
both you will be able to judge when we meet.
''Mr. Eobert Somerford has at length given
me the opportunity of refusing the honoui* of
allying my self to the house of Glendare. I am
glad of this, for I should scarcely have liked
to leave Bayview whilafb a chance remained of
his doing so. He is handsomer than ever —
years only improve his appearance ; but were
he beautiful as Adonis he could never be my
'' He was first sentimental and sympathetic,
next pressing in his entreaties, and sceptical
as to the genuineness of my ' No.' Lastly ha
32 The EarP s Promise.
was insolent and made as much of himself and
his position as though he had been nursed in
the lap of royalty, and lived all his life on
terms of equality with kings and queens.
Familiarity may in my case have bred con-
tempt, but I certainly never in the days when
I admired him most considered he was so
much my superior as appears is the case.
" I was equal, however, to the emergency ;
my desolate position, and my heavy mourning,
the sorrow I have passed through, all combine
to give me a courage I lacked in former times.
^' "Whilst he was still exalting himself and
depreciating me — ^reciting the glories of the
Glendares and contrasting the rank to which he
could have raised me with the level of obscurity
in which my refusal doomed me to remain for
life, maundering on as one might have thought
only an angry ill-bred woman or a spoiled
child could have maundered — I rose and rang
'' ^ Perhaps you will go now, Mr. Somerford,'
I said, ruthlessly cutting across a sentence in
which he was drawing a picture of my future
Saying Good-bye, 33
life when married to a poor apothecary who had
not even the recommendation of being possessed
of all his senses. '- Perhaps you will go now,
and spare j^oui'self the vexation of being asked
to leave before a servant.'
^' I never saw a man so taken by surprise.
He got up, made me a low, mocking bow, and
quitted the room without uttering another word.
'-' Next time he asks any one to marry him,
he says, he will take care the lady is in his
own rank of life.
'' He had been gradually provoking me, so
at that point I broke silence and suggested the
advisability of his ascertaining at the same
time whether her worldly means were as ex-
cellent as his own.
" You will blame me for this, of course ; but
if I had bitten back the words they would have
" There was a time when I coidd have
married him, and probably repented doing so
every hour of my after life. I told him this,
and he pressed me much to say when my
feelings underwent so great a change.
VOL. III. D
34 The EarPs Promise,
" ^ On that day,' I answered, ^ when you
forced me to remark, — "We had made you wel-
come at Bayview, and we now make you wel-
come to stay away.'
^^ It is only women with money, I fancy, who
have to endure impertinence at the hands of
their suitors. I suppose the fact is a feeling
of tenderness for the beloyed one mingles even
with the bitterness of losing her; but the
wildest fancy cannot suppose any feeling of
tenderness towards a fortune that a man sees
plainly can never be possessed by him.
^^ Every obstacle to my accepting your invi-
tation is now removed.
^' Our servants seem determined to cele-
brate the event of their master's death with a
series of weddings. He left them each a sum
of money which, though it would appear little
to English people of the same rank, is
w^ealth to them, and a number of alliances
have been arranged on the strength of these
legacies which would have amused you had
you seen the match-making in progress.
" On the w^hole, I am inclined to think that
Sayi}ig Good- dye, 2>S
even in Ireland the possession of a nest egg
produces the same effect npon human beings as
it does upon a hen. A desire to lay another
beside it becomes at once irresistible. After
that remark you will not be surprised to hear
the marriages in this establishment are chiefly
remarkable for prudence. Jane, the dairy-
maid, is going to invest her money in cows,
and a husband who OAvns a small cottage, the
right of grazing over a large tract of common
land, and a cabbage-garden, in which he pro-
poses to erect byres. The cook, whom you
may perhaps remember for the excellence of
her omelets and the warmth of her temper,
clubs her legacy with that of the coachman,
and they intend to take a public-house five
miles down the coast, and add posting to the
business. I will not weary you with further
^' The youngest and prettiest of the establish-
ment, my own little maid, takes her money,
supplemented by a gift from me, back to her
^' 'I shall be able to stay with her always
36 The EarPs Promise.
now, Miss Grace,' she said, crying and laughing
in the same breath. ^ I know enough, thanks
be to you, to teach a little school, and we'll be
happy as the day is long.'
" I have spoken to no one concerning my
own plans ; though of course every one knows
I am going to leave Bayview, no person
suspects that I intend to visit England.
" It has indeed been stated that I mean to
spend the winter abroad with Lady Glendare.
Her ladyship sent me a very civil note,
favoured by Mrs. Dillwyn, saying how grieved
she was to hear of my bereavement, speaking
of her own loss, and adding that, if I thought
a thorough change would prove beneficial to
my health and spirits, she would be delighted
if I would visit her.
^' Which was very kind, particularly from a
member of a family famous for the shortness of
their memories of favours received.
*^ This, I conclude, gave rise to the first re-
port, which has now, however, been superseded
by another. I am going to stay with Mr.
Hanlon's mother, who is to come so far as
D ublin to meet me !
Saying Good-bye, 37
^^ I mean to-day to bid good-bye to tbe
Scotts ; to-moiTOW, the next day, and the next,
I shall employ in paying farewell visits and
in gratifying the curiosity of my friends. Can
you not fancy the entreaties with which I shall
be assailed to stay in my own country and
amongst my own people ? My father's solicitor
is delighted with the proposal that he and his
family shall occupy Bayview for the autumn.
He will endeavour to let it from November next.
" I shall break my journey at Dublin, from
which place I will write to you again ; but
under any circumstances I hope to be talking
to you face to face within a fortnight from the
And having sealed and despatched tliis letter,
Grace, as has been stated, for the first time
since her father's death left behind her the
grounds of Bayview, and wended her way
towards the Castle Farm.
With a feeling of sick surprise she paused
when she reached the top of the divisional road
and looked at the fields to right and left. The
meadows were still uncut ; acres of long rich
^S TJic EarTs Promise.
grass had been laid by tbe rain, trampled by
the cattle. The potato blossoms had flowered
and faded ; the potato apples were beginning
to turn brown on the stems, but not a spade
had been put in to dig the roots out of the
In the other lands lying around she saw
hayricks; she beheld men busy at work ; she
heard the voices of the women and children
who were almost playing at their labour, so
rejoiced were all hearts to find the heavy crop
the upturned earth disclosed ; but at the Castle
Farm there was no sign of toil or of gladness.
There was a dead stillness about the place
which told Grace the beginning of the end had
begun. Spite of the rich grass thick with
clover, spite of the wealth lying bmied in the
broad ridges of the j)otato fields, spite of the
luxuriance of the ripening corn, she knew ruin
was sitting by the once hospitable hearth,
stealthily biding its time till it should turn
husband and wife and children out of house
and home upon the world.
No active si2:ns of mef — no outbreak of
Saying Good-bye. 39
sorrow could have affected Grace like the
dumb testimony which gave evidence of the
crisis that had come.
When before, in hay-time, had Amos and
his boys and his men not been up at the first
streak of light, in order to get well on with
their labour before the sun gaining power —
and the dews diying off the grass — made mow-
ing weary work ?
When had the potatoes ever lain in the
ground as they were lying now ? when had
not all needful tasks been expedited and got
well out of hand before the time came for the
ingathering of the com ?
Miss Moffat's eyes filled with tears as she
looked at the deserted fields that had borne
their increase only to point more forcibly the
ruin which was come to the Castle Farm.
If she had seen a sale going on in the
place ; had she beheld a crowd of strangers in
the yard, and heard a babel of tongues in the
air ; had the horses and the cows and the busy
fussing hens, and the fat well-to-do pigs been
taken away while she looked, the scene could
40 The EarPs Promise,
scarcely have struck her with the numb dread
that for a time paralysed her steps.
Then it all came upon her. They had
sown, but they might not reap ; they had
planted, but they might not gather ; on the
land they had held so long they were tres-
passers, and if they still remained in the old
homestead it was only because there is
nothing more difficult than to get rid of people
who have determined to remain.
Amos Scott had so determined ; but the law
was closing him in slowly, surely.
It was eating his substance first ; while he
had a pound in the traditional stocking, or
the ability to borrow a pound — while he
had a shoe to his foot and a shirt to his back,
it refrained from cutting short his torture, but
once let the cruise fail, and the law would
scourge him with scorpions out of that once
happy garden which never again might seem
like paradise to Amos or one of his family.
Out of the sunlight Grace passed into the
house, where, by reason of the glare from
which she had come, she could at fii*st scarcely
Saying Good-bye. 4^
distinguish any object; but after a second or
two she beheld Mrs. Scott, aged and haggard,
who, in her hands holding a coat of her hus-
band's she had been engaged in patching, rose
and bade her visitor welcome.
She was quite alone; a rare thing in that
populous house. Inside as out the same still-
ness prevailed, a stillness like unto the Egyp-
tian darkness, inasmuch as it could be felt.
The first words uttered were by Mrs. Scott,
in sympathy for Miss Moffat's afiliction ; but
Grace, though her burden seemed heavy, knew
the dead had no need of help or remembrance,
and here face to face with her was at least
one human being who had.
^^Tell me about yourselves," she said,
passing her handkerchief across the large soft
eyes that would encom^age tears to shelter
themselves under the white lids and long
lashes. ^' We cannot do anything more for him.
It was a great shock. I sometimes seem as if
I were unable to realize it even yet ; but it is
true, and I must learn to bear the greatest
trouble God sends one of his creatm-es."
42 TJie EarPs Pro7nise,
" The greatest, Miss ? " said Mrs. Scott in-
quiringly ; she was sympathetic and respectful,
but she could not quite fall in with this opinion.
She had her trouble, and if she heard that
the trouble of another might be greater, who
shall blame her for being slow of belief.
There cannot be much doubt that the man
who has broken his leg feels sceptical when
told that his next neighbour who has broken
his ankle is in worse case than he. As a mat-
ter of theory, people may sympathize with the
griefs of their fellow-creatures, but as a matter
of fact the only sorrows which are ever tho-
roughly understood are those a man has him-
self to bear ; and this is reasonable enough, re-
membering that after the lapse of even a short
time, a man finds it difficult to recall vividly
the anguish and the shame and the agony he
may once have been obliged to pass through.
Mrs. Scott's pain was very present with her,
however, on that beatiful morning. She was
in the midst of a trouble which might well
have exhausted a more patient woman. She
had to sit still and see her hoiisehold gods
Saying Good-bye, 43
broken one by one ; she was forced, as she said
herself, to "bide quiet" whilst ruin stalked
towards their home, drawing nearer every
hour. Death to her seemed naturally a less
trial than this lengthened torture, and she
could not agree with her visitor when Miss
Moffat answered, —
"The greatest because it is hopeless."
"Not making light of your trouble, Miss
Grace, don't you think it may be just as hope-
less a grief as death to feel yourself coming to
want and your children to beggary ? "
"If there were no way to avert such mis-
fortunes, perhaps not," was the reply ; "but it
is because we cannot avert death, because we
can never hope in this world to see those
who are gone, that I say death is so terrible a
" It is terrible," Mrs. Scott agreed ; " but I
don't feel as if it was as hard a sorrow as to
see everything going, and not be able to put
out a finger to save us from ruin. There arc the
potatoes undug in the ground, and I dui^n't
take up a root of them to boil for the dinner.
44 The EarPs Prouiise.
"We have had to sell the cows, for we were
'^ threatened " if we tried to graze them. The
boys have nothing to do, and the meadows are
all laid ; but they warned Amos off when he
went to mow. They poisoned onr dog because
he flew at one of the bailiffs Brady sent ; and
they tell me now Brady is going to get the
grass in, and the potatoes up, and the corn cut
when it ripens, if he has to bring a regiment
of soldiers to protect his men."
At the idea of which imposing array Mrs.
Scott dropped her work on her knee, heaved a
deep sigh, and remarked, —
" God alone knows what the end will be ! "
^^ I will tell you what the end ought to
be," said Grace kindly. ^^ You ought to begin
to pack up your belongings now, and leave the
Castle Farm as soon as ever you can get out
"Amos '11 never leave it alive," she an-
swered. " He is not a hard man to talk to in
a general way, but Brady has tried to head
him, and it has made him that dour, there is
no reasoning with him."
Saying Good-bye. 45
'' Have you ever really tried to reason
with him ? " Miss Moffat inquired.
'^ Not at firsts I'll own it. I was as keen on
as himself for fighting to the last ; but, oh !
Miss Gtace, when the trouble comes inside the
door, it is the woman feels it. She must hold
up and have a bite for the men folks to eat
if her heart is just breaking ; and I'm fairly
tired of it. I feel I'd be that glad to creep into
any hole where we could be quiet, I couldn't
'' Where is Amos? " asked her visitor, after a
^^ Gone to Glenwellan to see the lawyer ;
now we have sold Tom he has to walk there
and back every step of the way. He is spend-
ing his all in law, Miss Grace. Shure the
very money I got for the hens and the ducks
and the other cratures he made me give him,
and me saving it for the time when we'll want
^' What does Amos hope to do ? " inquii*ed
Grace. " Wliat does he expect the lawyers
can do for him ? "
46 The JEarVs Promise.
'^ That's beyond me to tell. He wants his
rights, and he says he'll have them."
^^Wliat are his rights?"
^'Oh, that's easy telling; this place he i3aid
the renewal of."
^' I am going away, — " began Grace, with
''So I heard tell," interpolated Mrs. Scott.
'' And before I go I want to put this matter
before you clearly, as I see it ; as others, wiser
and more capable than I, see it also."
'' Yes, Miss," said Mrs. Scott in a tone
which implied that Grace might talk and she
herself might listen, but that her opinions
would remain the same.
And indeed is this not always the case ? Is
it not always when talking and listening are
signally useless that opinions alter ?
''Supposing," said Grace, a little fluttered
by reason of her own boldness, " I went to
Dublin and said I must have a new piano."
" Likely you will some day," agreed Mrs.
Scott, as her visitor paused for a moment and
Saying Good-bye, 47
^^And suppose for the sake of argument,"
went on Grace, " I decided to spend a hun-
'^ It would be a heap of money," commented
'^Or fifty, or twenty," said Miss Moffat,
seeing her mistake ; ^^ say twenty pounds ; and
that I chose a piano and tokl the man where
to send it, and paid him the money and took
no receipt for ^ it. After I leave, another
person sees the same piano, likes it, pays the
money, and gets a receipt. Shortly I begin
to wonder why the instrument is not sent
home, and I write to the seller. I receive an
answer saying he is dead, and that no one
knows anything about the matter except that
the piano I mention has been sold and de-
livered to Mr. So-and-so. Now such a case
would be undoubtedly a hard one for me, but
I should never think of throwing good money
after bad in trying to put spilt milk back into
a basin ; and yet this is what Amos persists in
attempting. Do you understan d what I mean ? ' '
^' You speak very clever, Miss Grace,'' was
48 The EarPs Pjvmise,
^' I am afraid I do not speak at all cleverly,"
said her visitor. ^^ I wish, any words of mine
could persuade Amos and you how utterly use-
less it is for you to continue the resistance he
^' Would you have him give up everything,
then, Miss, and see us turned out on the world
— we who have always tried^Jfeo keep decent
and respectable as you know. Miss Grace ? "
^^I do know," was the answer, ^^but I see
no help for it — if a thing has to be done at
last, it may as well and better be done at
'' I am thinking Amos will fight it to the
end," said Mrs. Scott calmly,
'^ But what folly it is ! " exclaimed Miss
'' Like enough ; I wouldn't be so ill bred as
to contradict you. Miss, even if I could."
'' But it is impossible you can be happy or
comfortable living in this sort of way."
'' Happy, comfortable," repeated the poor
woman, then added with sudden vehemence,
" And who is it that has made us unhappy and
Saying Good-bye, 49
uncomfortable, but that villain Brady ? It'll
come home to him though ; sure as sure, Miss
Grace, it will. We may not live to see it, but
the day will come that others will mind what
Brady done to us and say, ^ Serve him right,'
no matter what trouble is laid upon him."
^^ But you do not wish any harm to happen
to him ? " suggested Grace, who, having no
personal feud with Mr. Brady, naturally felt
shocked at Mrs. Scott's bitterness of expression.
^^ Don't I?" retorted the woman, '^t
would be blessed news if one came in now and
said, ^ Brady is lying stiff and stark out in tJi -
j&eld yonder.' "
'^ Hush, hush, hush ! " entreated Grace,
laying her hand on the lean unlovely arm
which had once been plump and comely.
^' Oh ! I wish I could talk to you as I want to
talk. I wish I could say good things as other
people are able. I wish I could persuade you
to bear your heavy burden patiently, feeling
certain God in His own good time will lighten
it for you. I cannot thinlv there is any
reality in religion if it docs not support us in
VOL. III. E
50 The EarPs Promise.
trials like these, and you are a religious woman^
dear Mrs. Scott. I remember, as if it was
yesterday, the Bible stories you used to tell
me when I was a bit of a thing wearing
mourning for the first time."
Mrs. Scott's face began to work, then her
eyes filled with tears, then one slowly trickled
down her cheek, which she wiped away with
the corner of her checked apron, then with a
catching sob, she said, —
'-'- Ay, those were brave days. Miss Grace,
brave, heart some days. It was easy to feel
good and Christian-like then, and wish well to
everybody ; but I can't do it now, I cannot.
When I'm sitting here all alone, texts come
into my head ; but they are all what I used to
call bad ones, about vengeance, and hatred,
and punishment. There are no others I can
mind now. That Ifcief of the world has
destroyed us body and soul, but it Avill come
to him. He will get his deserts yet."
Grace rose, and walked into an inner room,
where, on the top of a chest of drawers, bright
as beeswax could keep them, lay the family
Saying Good-bye. 51
Bible, with Scott's spectacles, heirlooms like
the book, reposing upon it.
Lifting the Bible she carried it out, placed
it npon the dresser, and, turning to the Gospels,
read the last six verses of the fifth chapter of
St. Matthew softly and slowly. Then she
closed the yolume and took it back again.
'^ It's well for them that can do all that,"
said Mrs. Scott, not defiantly, but in simple
'^ Some day we shall all be able to feel it,
and do it, please God," answered Grace, and,
stooping over the back of Mrs. Scott's chair, she
kissed the face of the humble friend who had
once been like a mother to her.
^' Good-bye,'' she said. ^^ Let Eeuben write
to me, and get Amos away from here, if you
can, before worse comes of it."
'^What is this. Miss Grace?" asked Mrs.
Scott, as her visitor laid a small packet in her
^'It is what you will need," said Grace,
" when perhaps I am not near at hand to come
to for it."
jjj^^lT* OF ILUNOiS
52 The EarPs Promise.
^' Is it money ? " inquired the woman.
"Yes; surely you do not mind taking it
from me ? "
" No, I wouldn't mind. There aren't many
I could ask to help us, or that I could take
help from ; but I am not that high in my turn
I'd refuse it from you. Take it with you
though. Miss Grace. Don't leave it here. I
could not keep it secret from the good man —
we have never had anything separate, and he'd
either be angry with me for taking it, or else
he'd want it to spend on the law."
" In that case I will not leave it," said
Grace emphatically ; " only remember this one
thing, — whilst I am alive and have a pound,
you need never want. Bid me good-bye now,
for I must go."
" Good-bye," answered Mrs. Scott, taking
Grace's hand in her own, after carefully wiping
the latter on her apron; " God send you safe
to England and back again ! " and with tliis
customary form of farewell, which, familiar as
it is to those resident in Ireland, always strikes
solemnly on the ear, Mrs. Scott suffered her
Saying Good-bye-. 53
visitor to depart, watching her retreating
figure till it was lost to sight, and then return-
ing to her seat and her occupation.
" And back again ! " Grace repeated to
herself, as she looked over the glory of land
and water — hill and wood lying calm and
beautiful under a flood of golden sunshine.
''And back again ! what will have happened,
I wonder, by the time I return ? "
BEEAXING THE ICE.
Were I to say that at first Miss Moffat neither
admired tlie country nor liked the people of
England, I should only be expressing the sen-
timents of an entire nation in the person of a
single individual ; other people may have met
with Irish men and Irish women who took
kindly to Saxon soil on the first intention, but
for my own part I have still to see the re-
cently imported Celt willmg to admit there can
be any good thing found in the land.
It is very ciuious to consider how rapidly
educated English tourists take to Ireland --to
the inhabitants, the brogue, the scenery, the
Breaking the Ice, ^>,
whisky — and then to contrast with this the
length of time required to acclimatize an Irish
person of any rank to England and English
ways. Safely, I think, it may be asserted
that there is nothing on this side the channel,
from the red-tiled roofs of picturesque old
barns to the glories of the Eow, which finds
favour in Hibernian eyes. They may like
England at last — many do — but they never
like it at first.
To this rule Grace formed no exception.
There was nothing she liked in the foreign
land to which she had voluntarily exiled her-
self. Amongst her own country people, she
even fancied Mrs. Hartley had changed, and
changed for the worse, from the decided, in-
cisive widow, whose tongue had been the
terror and whose dress had been the envy of
She was more conventional and less amusing,
the young lady considered ; but Mrs. Hartley's
latest surroundings presented no temptations
to unconventionality, and it would have been
extremely difiicult to prove herself clever at
56 The EarPs Promise,
the expense of the eminently dull and de-
corous people amongst whom her lot was now
The style in which her friend lived was also
at first a trial to Grace.
The extreme simplicity of her own bringing
up — the modesty of the Bayview establishment
— the unpretending fashion of receiving and
visiting that at one time obtained in Ireland
rendered the rules and ceremonies of — to quote
Mrs. Hartley — ^^ a more advanced civilization"
irksome in the extreme to a person who had
from her childhood upwards been accustomed
to an exceptional freedom of action; whilst
after the inoffensive familiarity of Irish ser-
vants, the formality and decorum of Mrs.
Hartley's highly- trained domestics seemed cold
In a word, Miss Grace was more than
slightly home-sick ; in all probability, had she
possessed a home to go back to, she would have
received some early communication compelling
her to return to Ireland.
All of this, or at least much of this, so
Breaking ike Ice. 57
shrewd a woman as Mrs. Hartley could not
fail to notice ; she had expected the desire to
manifest itself, though not exactly so violently,
and she was accordingly quite prepared to let
it run its course without much interference
It was not in her nature, however, to re-
frain altogether from a little raillery on the
^^The cakes and the ales of this gorman-
dizing land will find favour in your eyes some
day, Grace," she remarked. ''I do not de-
spair of hearing you confess other forms
of diet may be as appetizing as milk and po-
" I can fancy many things more appetizing
than potatoes as boiled in England," Miss
Moffat would retort, not without some slight
sign of irritation. Her temper was not quite
so sweet, Mrs. Hartley noticed, as had been
the case formerly.
^^ She will not make an amiable old maid,"
considered her friend. "As she gets on in
life her wine will turn to vinegar ; she is the
58 The EarVs Projnise.
kind of woman who ought to have a husband
and half-a-dozen children, to prevent her grow-
ing morbid and disagreeable — like all other
philanthropists, she has had some serious dis-
appointments, and I must say they have not
improved her. She ought to marry ; but, like
her, I confess I cannot imagine who the happy
man is to be. Eeauty, wealth, amiability ! she
has the three gifts men value most, and yet it
seems to me that not a man suitable in any
solitary respect has ever yet asked her to be his
wife — except John Eiley. I wonder what he
would think of her now ? Who could have
imagined she would ever have developed into
so lovely a creature ? "
There were two things by which Mrs.
Hartley set great store — competence and
Poor people and ugly people were to her as
repellent as many diseases. Genteel poverty
was one of her abhorrences, plain faces
another ; and it may therefore be imagined
that when she found two most desirable ad-
vantages combined in one human being, she
Breaking the Ice. 59
gave way to exultation so perfectly frauk tliat
it struck Grace with amazement.
'^ What a beautiful creature you are ! " she
said as, Grace seated beside her in the car-
riage, they drove along the level English roads
to Mrs. Hartley's house.
'^ I am not very beautiful now, I am
afraid," answered Miss Moffat; ^' tired, bui-nt
up with the sun and the wind, and smothered
with dust, I feel utterly ashamed of my ap-
" Ah ! well you need not be, my dear. I
always thought you would grow up very
pretty, but certainly I never expected to see
you so pretty as you are. What do the
Kingslough oracles think of Gracie Moffat
''' The Kingslough oracles disapprove of my
being personally presentable," Grace answered.
^^ They likewise think it a pity that, if I were
designed to be good-looking, good looks were
not conferred upon me in my youth. Further,
they consider that as I have plenty of money,
I ought to be plain ; and, besides all this, they
6o The EarPs Promise.
think I am not so particularly good-looking
" The dear Kingslough ! It is like a dream
of old times to hear its opinions summed up so
^' I wonder what Kingslough would think
of your present state of magnificence," said
Grace, a little mischievously. ''If you were
to drive through Kingslough in this carriage,
you would have the whole town out, and fur-
nish conversation for a month."
Mrs. Hartley laughed, but her mirth was a
little forced ; she did not like her splendoiur
dimmed by the breath of ridicule, but she was
too much a woman of the world to show her
'' When we are in Turkey we do as the
Turkeys do, to borrow a phrase from one of
your own countrymen," she answered. ''If
any adverse wind stranded me to-morrow in
Ireland, I should at once pui'chase a jaunting-
car and advertise for a Protestant without in-
cumbrance, able to diive and wait at table."
Miss Moffat remembered that when the
Breakinor the Ice, 6i
speaker was stranded in Kingsloiigh she dis-
pensed even with the jaunting-car ; but Mrs.
Hartley had so neatly hit off the popular
method of proceeding, that Grace, tired as she
was, and feeling rather lonely and miserable,
thought that silence might be wisdom, and
refrained from reminding her friend of the
dreary drives they had taken in that particular
style of conveyance which the young ladj-
^'Besides," went on Mrs. Hartley, as though
guessing at her companion's thoughts. " I am
now a much richer woman than I was in those
days. Money has come to me as it generally
does to people who have it. Gold has a way
of attracting gold which is certainly very re-
markable. I used to think my income was as
large as I should care to have it, but since
more has been added I find T can manage to
spend it very comfortably."
This scrap of conversation may be taken as
samples of many which followed. Mrs. Hart-
ley and her guest talked, walked, drove, paid
visits together, but they did not at once fall
62 The Ea^d'^s Projnise.
into the old familiar relations that had formerly-
been so pleasant.
In effect both were different persons from
the young heiress and the rich English widow
of Grace's genial spring-time ; and even if
they had not so change d, it is a difficult
matter to take up, after years of separation, the
thread of a friendship at the precise point
where it was dropped, and go on weaving the
many-coloured web of intimate association as
though nothing had occurred to stop its pro-
Besides this, that which Grace styled ^' Mrs.
Hartley's magnificence " was not a thing this
country-bred maiden could accustom herself to
in a moment.
Hers was a model property; small, it is
true, but maintained as Grace had never seen
any place maintained before, unless indeed it
might be a botanical garden. Not half so
large as Bay view, a very doll's house and toy
grounds in comparison with those of "Wood-
brook ! but the order which kept the lawns
trimmed, the hedges clipped, the walks rolled.
Breaking the Ice, 6-^
the house from garret to cellar a marvel of
comfort and luxury, was enough to make a
thoughtful and devoted Irishwoman like Grace
ask herself a few very awkward questions, and
make her feel for the moment angry because
she could not avoid a sensation of shame at the
^^ I wish I could ever hope to be so ad-
mirable a manager in all respects as you are,
Mrs. Hartley," said Grace one day, after she
had heard that lady issue some rather peremp-
tory commands to her head gardener.
" One cannot be a handsome young thing
like you and a sharp old busybody like my-
self," replied Mrs. Hartley, not displeased,
however, at the compliment; ^^ and then re-
member I was born and brought up in a
country where order is Heaven's first law ; in
a land where it is the fashion to keep the
doorsteps white, it is natui'al that one should
like to see one's own steps presentable. There
is a great deal in habit. Although in the
abstract no doubt you admire English order
and cleanliness, still I have no doubt but that
64 The EarVs Promise,
in your heart of hearts you think we are fussy
Miss Moifat laughed and coloured.
^^ To be quite frank," she replied, '^I like
the result produced, but I do not like the
means by which it is produced. Perpetual
hearthstoning and rolling, and mowing and
cutting and clipping produce marvellous
effects, I confess ; but still I think the con-
stant recurrence of such days of small things
must tend to dwarf the intellect and make life
seem a very poor affair."
" Irish, my dear, very ; but these are
opinions about which there is no use arguing.
I should have considered begging in a town
where I knew every man, woman, and child,
and where every man, woman, and child knew
me, a somewhat monotonous occupation ; and
I fail to see anything calculated to enlarge the
intellect in the acts of planting potatoes all
day and eating them for breakfast, dinner, and
supper. Still there is a certain amount of
truth in what you say, or rather imply. The
English are not an imaginative people, and
Breaking the Ice, 65
they do not consider it necessary to idealize
work. They labour for so much a day, and
honestly say so. It is in the nature of a
quick, sympathetic nation to be desultory,
and the Irish are desultory till they come to
England, when they suddenly develope the
most marvellous perseverance, and trot up and
down ladders with hods on their shoulders in
a manner wonderful to behold."
"Dear Mrs. Hartley, how I wish I could
make you like the Irish ! " said Grace.
"I like you; is not that sufficient ?" was
the prompt reply.
"!N"o, not half, nor quarter.'^
" Ah ! my love, you are like those unrea-
sonable women who expect their husbands to
be fond, not merely of them but of the whole
of their relations, to the sixth and seventh
It was a singular fact, and one Grace could
not avoid remarking to herself, that on paper
she and Mrs. Hartley had been much more
confidential and friendly than they seemed ever
likely to become while they remained face to
VOL. III. F
66 The EarPs Promise.
face. Doubtless this arose from the circum-
stance that in their correspondence Mrs.
Hartley still thought of Grace as the young
girl in whose fortunes she had once taken an
almost motherly interest, whilst Grace pictured
Mrs. Hartley as the kindly, middle-aged lady
who had petted and ridiculed and been fond
of her ever since she attained to the dignity of
long frocks and turned-up hair.
For Grace had never worn her hair in ring-
lets like Nettie ; not all the papers or irons on
earth could have given her hair that curl
which Xkigslough so much admired in Miss
O'Hara ; and after having had her locks twisted
up into some hundreds of little twists and
screws, Grace would appear an hour after her
nurse had unfurled her curls with her hair as
straight as if no attempt had ever been made
to dress it in the approved fashion.
Thus it came to pass that as those were not
the days in which children's tresses were al-
lowed to float in the wind, or stream down to
their waists through the valley between their
shoulders, Grace was condemned to have her
Breaking the Ice. 67
hair done up in two long plaits, wHch were
sometimes worn as pigtails, and sometimes
doubled up like curtain-liolders, being tied
together at the nape of the neck by ribbons
brown or blue.
Considering that blue did not suit the child,
and that a more hideous style of dressing the
hair never prevailed, it may be suggested
that Kingslough had some excuse for the
opinion at which it then arrived concerning
little Miss Moffat's looks.
Those days were gone, the days of plum-
cake and delightful evenings, with two people
for a whole party, and Grace allowed to make
the tea ; the days when Mrs. Hartley used to
ask the girl to spend pleasant afternoons with
her, and took her drives and walks, and was
very good to her altogether.
Yes, they were gone, as the Grace of old
was gone ; the plain chrysalis who was now so
pretty a creature, the little, grave, silent
orphan who, wont to blush when any one
spoke to her, could now speak for herself in
any place and in any company, but who could
68 The EarVs Pro7nise.
not talk confidentially to Mrs. Hartley, per-
haps for the reason that Mrs. Hartley now felt
a difficulty in asking questions she once would
not have hesitated to put by letter.
There was a break, not caused by disagree-
ment, but by apparent lack of sympathy be-
tween them, which both felt painfully, which
each would have given much to bridge over.
I think this kind of reserve between staunch
friends is by no means so uncommon as many
people imagine. It is more difficult to get the
heart to break silence than the tongue, and
for this reason the most fluent talkers are
not those who speak of their tenderest
How long this might have gone on it is
hard to conjecture, had there not one morning
arrived a letter for Miss Moffat, directed in a
man's handwriting. Mrs. Hartley noticed the
fact. It was the first communication from any
gentleman, except her lawyer, Grace had re-
ceived since her arrival. Her friend knew
this, because she opened the post-bag and
dealt out its contents.
Breaking the Ice, 69
The whole clay after Grace was silent and
thoughtful. Mrs. Hartley noticed she looked
in an abstracted manner out of the window,
and that occasionally she fixed her eyes on her
with a sort of questioning and anxious ex-
Towards evening Mrs. Hartley determined
to break the ice. '^ That girl has something
on her mind," she considered as she entered
the drawing-room five minutes before dinner,
^^ I must find out what it is," and she proved
herself as good as her words.
They had dined, dessert was on the table,
Grace was toying with some fi'uit on her plate,
Mrs. Hartley had swallowed two of the three
glasses of port her doctor assured her she
ought to take with as '' much regularity as if it
At this precise stage of the proceedings she
had made up her mind to speak, and with
Mrs. Hartley, to make up her mind was to
^^ Grace," she began, ^* there is something
70 The EarPs Promise,
"Yes, Mrs. Hartley, I have a very great
trouble/' answered Grace calmly.
In an access of excitement Mrs. Hartley
poured out and swallowed that third glass of
"Let us go into the other room, where
we can talk comfortably, my dear," she said,
rising ; and Grace, nothing loth, left her un-
touched fruit, walked across the hall into the
snug little drawing-room she had learned to
love so much, opening on one side to a conser-
vatory, and on the other to a lawn kept smooth
and soft as velvet.
After all, spite of its shrubs, its trees, its
long sea frontage, and its acres of garden
ground, there was room for much improve-
ment at Bayview.
"H ever I return to Ireland," Grace had
said to herself many and many a time, " I will
have that grass kept like these English
And yet after all there is grass in the
Emerald Isle smoother, shorter, closer, and
softer than any in England. Only in that
Breaking the Ice, 71
case sheep have been the mowers. I know
an island in a lake where they fatten in six
weeks, and where it is perhaps unneces-
sary to say stand the ruins of an old monas-
GRACE TELLS HER STORY.
Grace's experiences of drawing-rooms in her
own country had been considerable.
She had been acquainted from her childhood
with immense apartments, commanding sea and
land views. She knew the orthodox style of
furniture which upholsterers sent in as a
species of groundwork upon which individual
fancy subsequently painted the form of its own
especial idiosyncrasy. She had beheld acres
of carpeting, hangings which were miracles of
heaviness and expense, chairs first covered
with green, or amber, or ponceau, or silver
grey, to match the curtains, and then wrapped
Grace Tells Her Story, 73
up in hollancl, to preserve their beauty intact,
ponderous loo and sofa tables, everything as
good as money could buy, and expected to last
accordingly ; these were some of the necessaries
without which no drawing-room in a gentle-
man's house could be considered orthodox ; but
when all such things had been provided, it was
admissible to add such other elegances as
personal taste might suggest.
Personal taste or family circumstances pro-
duced occasionally some very curious devices
in the way of ornamentation. Eelics from
Pompeii would be the attraction of one home ;
carved temples, cedar-wood boxes, daggers
with richly-ornamented handles, spoke in
another of some male relatives who had
crossed the sea, and brought back flotsam and
jetsom with him. Dogs, parrots, flowers, de-
picted in wool on canvas, testified in many
homes to the indefatigable industry of its
female occupants ; in rare cases, rare because
the materials were for those days costly, bead-
work in unlimited quantities charmed the be-
holder ; occasionally old china, whicli M'(.>uld
74 The EarVs Promise,
now fetch fabulous prices in London, adorned
the chiifonierSj whatnots, and cabinets of persons
who had none too much money to spare, whilst
in almost all cases where there were young
ladies, or even middle-aged, the open piano,
the litter of music, often a harp or a guitar,
spoke of the love of that talent which is be-
stowed so much more freely on Irish than
All these rooms, and many others besides,
Orace had been free of; rooms with a certain
stately dignity about them, rooms connected
with which she had many a pleasant childish
and girlish memory, but a drawing-room like
Mrs. Hartley's was as far beyond her imagi-
nation as that other style of apartment
generally and prudently unoccupied which
obtains in the subiu^bs of London, and in the
houses of all highly respectable and sober-
minded middle class people thi'oughout
Luxury in those days had not attained to
the height to which it has since sprung. It
has been reserved for the reign of her present
Grace Tells Her Story, 75
Majesty to witness a more rapid transition
from comparative simplicity of living, lodging,
dressing, spending, to the wildest extravagance
of expenditure in all ranks, tlian has ever
occurred before at any era, or in any nation ;
and for this reason the decorations and
furniture which seemed perfection to Grace
Moffat, would no doubt appear extremely poor
and commonplace if catalogued for the benefit
of the reader.
In the nature of almost every woman there
is, I suspect, a latent, cat-like love of things
soft, bright, cosy, and there was something in the
whole aspect of Mrs. Hartley's dramng-room
which appealed to this sense in Grace's nature.
She liked walking over the thick carpet ; the
white sheepskin hearthrug on which generally
reposed a King Charles that hated Grace with
a detestation she cordially reciprocated ; the
fire-light reflected from mirrors, sparkling
against lustres ; the lovely water-colour di-aw-
ings hanging on the walls ; the delightful easy
chairs ; the statuettes ; the flowers piled up
in banks between the long French windows,
7 6 The JEarPs Proinise.
and the conservatory filled with rare and
beautiful plants ; all these things were pleasant
as they were novel to the rich widow's
In Mrs. Hartley's opinion, however, the
very greatest ornament her room had ever
held was Grace Moffat, and the admiration
she always entertained for her guest was
heightened as they entered the apartment
together, by the new interest now attaching to
her, as the older lady felt satisfied must be the
case. Some misplaced affection, some love
entanglement which she had kept secret
until she could endure to keep silent no
'' l!^ow sit down, dear, and tell me all about
it ; you prefer the low chair, I know," began
Mrs. Hartley; but Grace answered, —
'^I should like to sit on the rug close by
you, if I may, and if Jet does not object to-
^^He shall be taken away," said Jet's
mistress, laying her hands on the bell.
^'No!" interposed Grace. ^'I will try
Grace Tells Her Story. 77
to be amiable to him, if he will be tolerant
of me," and she sat down ; a pretty picture in
the firelight, her black dress disposing itself in
graceful folds over the white rug, her hands
crossed idly in her lap, and her face upturned
to Mrs. Hartley, who, stooping, kissed it
" !N'ow who is he ? " asked the widow.
*^ There is no ^he' in my story," Grace
answered ; ^' at least no ' he ' in your sense. I
hope you will not be disappointed [when I
tell you my trouble has nothing to do with
love, but a very great deal to do with
^^ So far, my dear, I think money has been
a trouble to you ; when you are as old as I am
you will understand the trouble of having
money is by no means comparable to the
trouble of being without it."
^^ In this case my money has nothing to do
with the story."
^^ Then, for mercy's sake, child, tell me what
has to do with it."
''I have," Grace answered; ^^a secret has
78 The EarPs Pro7iiise,
been confided to me that I do not know how
to deal with; a responsibility has been put
upon me which makes me wretched. I fully
intended when I first came here to tell you all
about the matter, but — "
^^ But what ? " asked Mrs. Hartley softly ;
'^ this is the light, and you are in the mood
for confession, let us get that little 'but' out
of the way now — for ever."
*^I will try," said Grace boldly. ''You are
not really changed in the least ; you are the
same true, dear friend you were in the old
Kingslough days when Nettie made such a
mess of her life ; but everything about you is
changed. The grandeui' — don't laugh at me —
and the formality, and the stateliness of your
surroundings threw me back at first, and
then I fancy you thought I was changed,
and so — "
" Yes ; you need not try to finish ; spite of
your occasional little whifi's of temper, you
have changed, or rather developed, into one of
the sweetest and most lovable women I have
ever known. And now you are getting accus-
Grace Tells Her Story, ^9
tomed to what you call my grandeur, and En-
lish ways do not seem so objectionable as they
did at first, and we are going this evening to
break the ice once and for always; and you
have a story to tell, and I am in one of my
best moods for listening."
'•^ My story is a very short one, but it will
interest you, for it concerns the Eileys."
^' Which of them?"
" All ; father, mother, sisters, brother," an-
swered Grace. ^^The night my father was
taken ill I was told something which may
affect them all most seriously. It was my in-
tention to consult him in the matter, but after
— after his death you may imagine I forgot for
a time in my own grief the possible griefs of
other people. Before I left Ireland, however,
I received a note containing the words, ' Have
you forgotten what I told you ? ' To-day a
second note is forwarded to me repeating the
^' May I ask the name of the writer ? "
"No ; there is my difficulty. I am bound
to silence as regards my informant. But for
8o The EarPs Promise.
that, I should have sent for General Eiley and
told him all I had learned."
*^ The Eiley s and you have not been very
intimate since you were sweet seventeen ? "
said Mrs. Hartley interrogatively.
"No," was the reply. "We of course are
friendly if we happen to meet, but Mrs. Eiley's
disappointment at my refusing John was so
great that she ceased visiting Bayview entirely.
I felt rather hurt that she never called upon
me after my loss. The General was ill ; indeed
his health has been bad for a long time past,
but I thought and think she and the girls might
have let bygones be bygones, and come and
said, ' We are sorry for your trouble.' "
" It certainly would have been more grace-
ful," remarked Mrs. Hartley; "but, then,
one never associates the ideas of grace and
Mrs. Eiley together. But to come to your
" You know there is a mortgage on Wood-
^' I knew there was one, and to Iniow that, is
to conclude there is one still. I never heard
Grace Tells Her Story. 8 1
of a mortgage being paid off in Ireland ; such
a tMng might have happened, but I do not
think it likely."
^^The Woodbrook mortgage has not been
paid at all events," replied Grace ; ^^ but, so far
as I can gather, it has changed hands."
" In whose hand is it now, then ? "
'•'- What ! the man Nettie ran away with ? "
^^ "Where on earth did he get enough money
to enable him to advance such a sum ? "
'^ I have not the faintest idea."
^'What could have induced him to do a
thing of the kind?"
'^Eevenge. He means to turn the Eileys
out of Woodbrook ; at least so I am in-
" Can you trust your informant ? "
" Fully ; there is, I think, not the slightest
hope of" — Grace hesitated; she could not say,
'-'- his being mistaken," and she would not say,
^' her ; " so she altered the form of her sentence,
VOL. III. G
S2 The EarPs Promise.
and finished it by adding, ^^ there cannot be
any mistake in the matter."
Mrs. Hartley lay back in her chair and
thought in silence.
She Avas quick enough to grasp the whole
meaning of Grace's communication, and she
understood sufficient of legal matters to com-
prehend how to a certain extent the desire of
Mr. Brady's heart might be compassed.
^^ What can be done ? " Grace asked at
'' I do not see that either of us can do any-
thing," was the reply. ^' General Eiley ought
to be told by some one, and the question
naturally arises by whom ? Shall I write to
him, if you feel any hesitation about re-
opening your acquaintance with the family ? "
" I should not have any feeling of that kind
to influence me in such a case as this," Grace
answered ; *^but if I wrote to the General,
it would be certain in some way to reach
Mr. Brady's ears, and if it did — "
" Supposing it did ? "
^^ By putting two and two together he might,
Grace Tells Her Story, ^2i
he would, suspect from whom I received my
" And in that event disastrous results might
ensue to yoiu- nameless friend? "
*' I believe so."
*^ I think you had better tell me the name
of your friend."
" I cannot. I promised to keep it a secret.
It fills me with such dread and apprehension
to fancy what might occur if Mr. Brady ever
should learn who betrayed him, that I feel
tempted at times to let matters take their
course. Surely, the General is old enough to
manage his affairs without any assistance from
me ? "
" He may be old enough, but he is far from
wise enough. If Mr. Brady has really laid a
trap for him, he will walk into it as innocently
as a child ; and then, some fine day, we shall
hear they have all to leave Woodbrook ; that
the shock has killed the General; and that
when John returns there will not be an acre of
land left of his inheritance."
*^ I thought of writing an anonymous letter,"
84 The EarPs Promise,
said Grace innocently; ^'but then no one
ever takes any notice of anonymous letters."
^^ It is well you did not carry that plan into
execution," remarked Mrs. Hartley. ^' I must
think the matter over, Grace. It has come
upon me suddenly; in fact, I cannot realize
such a complication. You are positive," she
went on, ''that you have not been deceived;
that the he, she, or it who told you the story
did so in perfect good faith ? "
"Yes, quite positive, the risk incurred
alone would satisfy me of that, even if other
circumstances had failed to do so."
'' Do you know it strikes me you have taken
the whole affair rather coolly, yoimg lady ! "
said Mrs. Hartley. '' I think, even although you
did refuse John Eiley, he would not have per-
mitted months to pass without letting you know
your fortune was in danger, had the cases been
"I have felt something of what you ex-
press," Grace replied, '' and suffered in con-
sequence. Had John been in this country,.
I should have told him at once — I should have
Grace Tells Her Story. 85
felt safe with, him — but I am afraid of telling
the General. I suppose I must be a great
€Oward, but I never dreaded anything so much
as having it known the information came from
me. I could have trusted John's discretion, I
cannot trust that of the General or Mrs. Biley
or the girls."
'^ Still we must not let them be utterly
beggared without lifting a finger to save them.
Besides, your friend must wish them to know
their danger, or such a communication would
never have been made ; and if harm does come
of Mr. Brady hearing you are acquainted with
his secrets, it seems to me that you are in no
way responsible for it."
" Harm must not come, Mrs. Hartley," said
Grace earnestly. ^^ If you can think of any
way in which we can let the General know
without his connecting either of us with the
intelligence — well ; but if not, the very best
thing that could be done would be for you to
write to John and tell him that he must come
*^ And find Mr. Brady ^ in possession ' of the
86 The EarPs Promii
property ! " finished Mrs. Hartley. '^ I sus-
pect there is no time to be lost about the
matter, and that, clever as we both are, we
shall have to get the assistance of some man in
it. Poor John ! it would indeed be hard to
lose both wife and lands.''
" I should have thought he might have
found the former without much difficulty ere
this," said Grace.
" Then, my dear, you judged Mr. John
Eiley, as usual, unfairly," retorted Mrs.
Her visitor laughed. " I do so like to hear
you defend him. You are thoroughly in
earnest on that subject."
^^Earnestness is a good quality," said the
widow. '^ It is one in which some of your
suitors have been rather deficient."
^^ None of them, so far as their desire to get
my money was concerned ^ I assure you," Miss
Mofiat answered, which might be considered
as rather a neat little tit in return for Mrs.
For a long time after they had separated for
Grace Tells Her Story. 87
the niglit the latter lady lay awake, thinking
over Grace's story, and wondering who could
have told her. She recalled all the people she
had known in Kingslough, she puzzled her
head to imagine who it might be so
utterly in Mr. Erady's power as to dread the
weight of his vengeance. She tried to re-
member if Grace had let fall any word likely
to give her a clue, but in vain.
^^ It must be that Hanlon or else Scott — I
dare say it was Scott. But, then, Mr. Brady
and he could not be bitterer enemies than they
are ; besides, the address on that letter was
written by a person of education. I feel no
doubt it was Mr. Hanlon," and then all at once
the truth flashed upon her, and she sat up in
bed, saying almost out aloud, ^^ It was Nettie,
the man's own wife." Even in the darkness
Kingslough seemed to rise before her eyes.
Kingslough at high noon, with the sun dancing
on the sea and a group of pitying friends
gathered round a feeble old woman bewailing
herself for Nettie, golden-haired Nettie, who
had gone out that morning all unsuspecting to
meet her fate.
88 The Earfs Promise.
Next morning Mrs. Hartley appeared at
breakfast, with signs of sleeplessness around
her eyes, and tokens of anxiety on her face.
^' I have decided on the course we must
take," she said, when they were alone ; "but
before I speak about it, I want to tell and ask
" I know now from whom you received your
information; do not be frightened, for the secret
is safe with me, and it is well I do know, for
otherwise we might, with the best intentions,
have secured a fiasco. What I wish to ask is
this. Is he aware she is acquainted with this
^^ Mrs. Hartley," said Grace quietly, " I must
refuse to answer any question in connection with
the individual who brought this intelligence
to me. I wish it never had been brought.
. I am the last person in the world on whom
such a responsibility should have been
" I agree with you to a certain extent. I
think there are many persons in the world who
would have been of more use in such a crisis
Grace Tells Her Story, 89
than yourself. The worst of young heiresses,
even if they have philanthropic impulses and
amiable dispositions, is that they are apt to
get slightly — "
^' Selfish," suggested one of the young
heiresses referred to.
^^ No, I do not mean exactly that ; in fact, I
am not exactly certain that I could express
what I do mean. One thing, however, I must
say, making all allowance for the difficulty in
which you have been placed, — I think, Miss
Orace, you ought to have made some move in
the matter ere this ; you ought to have told
me all about it before you had been twenty-
four hours in the same house with me. There,
I have spoken out my mind and feel better for
it. Now are you going to be very angry with
'' No indeed," Grace answered; ^^ I like to be
scolded, it seems as though some one loved me
enough to be interested in me," and she caught
Mrs. Hartley's hand and held it for a second.
There were unshed tears in the eyes of both.
Perhaps the same thought occurred to each at
go The EarPs Promise,
the same moment. They had wealth, and
position, friends, acquaintances ; they possessed
those things deemed valuable by most people ;
and yet they were lonely creatures, the one in
her youth, the other in her age.
^^ I shall write," said Mrs. Hartley, after a
pause, ^^to Lord Ardmome, or rather, I shall
go to see him — he is in London now ; he is so
courteous a nobleman, I dare say he would
come to see me if I asked him.''
" That would be a far better arrangement,"
remarked Grace. ^^ Your servants here could
attach no importance to his visit, but his
servants there might."
'' Nonsense ! " exclaimed Mrs. Hartley, but
she gave way nevertheless, and wrote a note
forthwith in which she stated she desired to
have Lord Ardmorne's advice and assistance,
and stating she would send her carriage to meet
iany train by which he might appoint to travel.
By return of post came his lordship's answer.
He should be only too delighted, he said, if his
advice or assistance could be of any service to
Mrs. Hartley, and he would leave London by
such a train on such a day.
Grace Tells Her Sto7y, 91
"So far well," said the widow; " now we
must have a nice luncheon for the dear old
man, and you must look your very best. I
suppose you are not desirous of adding any
other members of the nobility to your list of
suitors ; but as penance for your sin of omission,
you ought to make yourself very charming."
" I will try," answered Grace, and she suc-
ceeded. Lord Ardmorne was delighted with
When, in the pretty drawing-room, Mrs.
Hartley repeated all Grace had told her to him,
the visitor looked exceedingly grave.
"This thing must not be," he said; "we
must save the General from ruin, and keep the
estate for the son — a fine, brave, honest fellow.
I never did a kindness to any young man
whose subsequent career satisfied me so com-
pletely. I never receive a letter from India
in which his name is not mentioned, and with
Grace felt her colour rise a little at this lauda-
tion of a man she had never thought clever or
remarkable in any way, and she turned her
•92 The Earl's Promise.
head away, so that if Mrs. Hartley glanced
towards her, she might build no fancy from
But Mrs. Hartley did no such thing. She was
much too astute a woman to let Grace imagine
she was going to plead John Eiley's cause
again. She had made up her mind that Miss
Moffat and her first lover should marry, but
she did not intend to let Grace see her game,
or tell her for what stakes she was playing.
Mentally, she likened her own position to that
of the man who, driving pigs along the road to
Cork, told all the people he met that he was
proceeding in a contrary direction for fear the
animals might immediately turn back. 7
She had guessed Grace's little peculiarities
with tolerable accuracy, and she was determined
not to risk damaging her favourite's chance by
running counter to them.
From, the tone of his letters, she knew no
woman had as yet filled up Grace's place in
^^ I wonder if he would still love her if they
met. She is beautiful now, which she cer-
Gi^ace Tells Her Story. 93,
tainly was not then ; but she is not quite the
Grace he knew — "
Was she not ? Before another twelvemonth
had passed, Mrs. Hartley knew of what stuff
Grace was made.
'-'- 1 shall at once write to Mr. Eiley, and tell
him his presence is urgently required in Ire-
^^ But what a pity it seems to do so, when
he is getting on so well in India ! "
" If he finds affairs in Ireland are able to go
on without him, he can return to India ; I will
arrange all that."
" But it would be dangerous to wait for his
return before making any move in the matter,"
suggested Mrs. Hartley.
" I shall not wait for anything or person,"
was the reply ; " I shall ascertain if the state-
ment be true — no reflection intended, Miss
Moffat, on your sagacity; this can be done
through the General's lawyers."
" And then ? " suggested Mi's. Hartley.
'' Then I shall begin to be perplexed. I
do not suppose, if the interest were regularly
94 The EarPs Promise,
settled, there would be any necessity to pay off
the mortgage, but still I think it will have to
be paid off, and if so, where is the money to
come from ? It is not given to every one to
command capital as Mr. Brady seems able to
do. I have been buying an estate lately in
one of the midland counties, and it has made
me very short — very short indeed. But bless
me ! to think of Brady aspiring to Woodbrook !
' !N'o matter at what sacrifice, that must be pre-
vented. A place I would gladly own my-
"All my money is invested," said Mrs.
Hartley. "I am afraid I could not realize
any considerable sum for a long time."
" I have not the slightest idea where my
money is," added Miss Moffat ; " but if any of
it is available, I should like to help."
"I^ot to be thought of," suggested Mrs.
Hartley. '' I am sure Lord Ardmorne agrees
with me, when I say the idea ought not to be
entertained for a moment."
" I really am at a loss — " began the noble-
Grace Tells Her Story, 95
^^ If you are sensitive, Grace, you can leave
us," said Mrs. Hartley ; ^' if not, you can hear
what I say. There was a time, my lord, when
this young lady's fortune would have infused
new blood into the Woodbrook estate, when a
very honourable and honest young gentleman
who was very fond of her asked her to be his
wife. But she could not fancy him. It was a
pity, still such things will happen. Without
further explanation, you will see at once that if
Miss Moffat stepped forward at this juncture
to offer assistance, her feelings and motives
might be misconstrued. Her views have im-
dergone no change, but it might be imagined
Grace sat chafing in her place, whilst Mrs.
Hartley delivered herself of this long sentence,
but she did not speak. Lord Ardmorne, after
studying the pattern of the carpet for a mo-
ment or two, looked up and said with a twinkle
in his kindly eyes, —
'^Yes, I agree with you, though it does
seem hard a young lady should be unable to
help a friend because his son was once her
96 The EarPs P^'omise.
suitor. These difficulties are boulders in the
path of life, but still we must all face them.
If, however, I am not greatly mistaken in
Miss Moffat, she is one of those who are
" To do good by stealth,
And blush to find it fame,"
and, supposing money be urgently needed,
I fancy she would lend it to me and let me
take the credit of helping the General and his
family at this crisis. You would trust me,
Miss Moffat, to take as much care of your
pride as I should of your fortune ? "
Said Grace — ^' My lord, I would trust you
with my life," and passed out into the con-
servatory, thinking that if the Glendares had
been made of such stuff as this, it Avould have
seemed a glorious lot to link her fortune with
that of Eobert Somerford— even although the
ways and doings of the nobility are not as the
ways and doings of the class from which she
" A most charming girl ! " exclaimed Lord
Ardmorne, "and the case was, as you im-
plied, serious ! "
Grace Tells Her Story. 97
^^Yes; Jolin Eiley loved Grace Moffat,
as a girl is only liked once in her lifetime.
That was why he went abroad, that is why he
stays abroad, that is probably the reason why
he will remain single till he is middle-aged and
rich. You have seen the young lady who is
'- the woman ' of that man's life.''
'-'- 1 fancy your story ought to end, however,
Mrs. Hartley, with — they lived happy ever
But Mrs. Hartley shook her head. Not
even to this new ally did she intend to show
ALMOST TOO LATE.
LoED Aedmorne was as good as his word, and
better; thereby demonstrating the truth of
the frequent assertion, that those who pro-
mise little often perform much ; while those
who promise much usually fail altogether in
Not in the least like the Somerfords was the
Marquis of Ardmorne. He was not hand-
some in person or gracious in manner, or fluent
of speech, but he was true ; true in his pre-
judices, which were many ; in his political
faith, which was becoming obnoxious even in
England ; in his religion, that generally con-
Almost Too Late, 99
demned all men — but was so in the habit of
excepting special persons and cases that the
damnatory clauses were practically rendered
From what stock shall we say such a man
sprang. He was not Scotch, or Irish, or
English ; but he was something which we are
accustomed — though as I think, erroneously —
to regard as a mixture of all tln-ee. He was
what the tenants called a hard landlord, and
yet his rents were lower than those of the
Politically, the Glendares were on the right
side to please the people. He was on the
wrong ; and the " hard bit," as the tenantry
called it, about Lord Ardmorne was that when
a man took a farm from him he had the choice
of voting as his landlord wished, of thinking
as his landlord thought, or of having worldly
matters made uncomfortable for him.
To ensure so desirable a state of affairs, Lord
Ardmorne granted no fresh leases ; but let his
lands at a proportionately low rental, so as to
lOO The Eajdh Promise.
be able to rid bis farms of recalcitrant tenants
as rapidly as migbt be.
I do not defend tbe system. Of course
amongst a people so higbly enlightened as our
own — in a state of society wbich produces
such profound thinkers, and renders the views
of even the lowest so clear and so just, as that
which recommends itself at present — it is most
desirable the freedom of action and of con-
science should obtain, even if such freedom of
action and of conscience produce similar re-
sults to those England and Ireland have
both had to deplore during the last few years ;
but still those who took Lord Ardmorne's
farms did so with a perfect knowledge of con-
There was no secrecy about the matter. My
lord having a certain set of opinions, expected
his tenants to acquiesce in those opinions ; and
they were aware of the fact.
When by reason of death — the resignation
of a member, or other causes — an election took
place. Lord Ardmorne- expected his men to
vote for his man. If they refused to do so^
Almost Too Late. loi
my lord turned them out. They rented his
land, knowing well the full consequences of
contumacy, and if they liked to risk those con-
sequences, it was scarcely fair to grumble (as
they did) when the marquis enforced his share
of the bargain.
If an Irish farmer of that period could only
live a struggling trader for a year in the city
of London, in this, he might well pray heaven
to deliver him from the men of our time,
and to restore him even a hard landlord like
the marquis, who expected his tenantry to
think as he thought for the sake of an ex-
ceptionally low rental and various other in-
The Marquis of Ardmorne would have found
scant favour at the hands of those gentlemen
of the press who, in the present day, are good
enough to instruct the nobility in their duties
as landlords and landowners. He was in no
way romantic. He might have forgiven a
tenant a year's rent, but he could not over-
look his venturing to have an opinion of his
I02 The EarPs Promise.
His manners were not genial ; he could not,
to reproduce an old Irish phrase, have
'' charmed a bird off the bush," even if he had
tried to do so. He was one of those who, it is
sometimes stated, strive to stop progress. His
OAvn party honestly thought they were only
the breakwaters that tended to keep the peri-
lous waves of innovation from sweeping over
and destroying the land.
The Eeform Bill he believed to have been
the ruin of the country. Had he lived to see
the Irish Church Bill passed, he would have
covered his face and turned him to the
wall, feeling death had lingered too long.
Tenant right stank in his nostrils. Liberty of
conscience was a phrase which sounded in his
ears like the claptrap expression of a party
who were trying to lead the lower orders
The peasantry he regarded as children who,
not knowing what was best for them, ought to
do as they were told. There could be no mis-
take as to what Lord Ardmorne considered the
first duty of a tenant-farmer ; and if the
Almost Too Late. 103
tenant-farmer chanced to entertain a different
opinion, why so much the worse for him.
On the other hand, the Ardmorne tenantry
enjoyed advantages unknown to those who
rented the Somerford lands. The marquis, it
is true, did little or nothing in the way of im-
provements ; but he did not prevent the farmers
improving their holdings if they pleased to do
so. Lime and stone were supplied to them at
almost nominal prices. The shore rights,
such as the Glendares had let and the lessee
sublet again, were practically free to those who,
behaving themselves properly, were sufiered to
cultivate his lordship's lands and pay rent to
his lordship's agent ; and when crops failed or
sickness laid low, and the gale days came
round, time would often be given to make up
that rent for which, as on the Glendare estates,
the farmers and their wives, and their sons
and daughters, and men-servants and maid-
servants, worked from morning till night from
week's beginning to week's end, from the
time they were big enough to pick up stones
and herd cows till they were carried to their
104 ^/^^ EarPs Promise,
Nevertheless, the marquis was not liked
as Th' Airl had been. Though his religious
opinions were identical with their own;
though he reverenced the glorious, pious, and
immortal memory of King "William ; though
he had nothing but contempt and hatred for
that of James ; though he was an Orangeman,
and thought ^'Protestant Boys'' the most
charming melody ever composed ; though his
watchword, like theirs, was '^ No Surrender ;"
though his feelings towards the Pope were
identical with their own sentiments, despite
the fact that he uttered his commination ser-
vices in Parliament in more orthodox and
gentlemanly fashion than they shouted out
theirs in the streets and highways, — still, his
lordship failed to win the hearts of his
He had always been a grave quiet man,
with stern features and reserved habits; a
man with a story in his life which had perhaps
made the fulfilment of his age different from
the promise of his youth; a man of strong
purposes and deep feelings; a man to like
Almost Too Late. 105
few, but to like those few much ; a man who
would have thought himself no better than a
thief, if he had left impoverished acres and a
diminished rent-roll to the next heir, albeit
that heir was neither son nor nephew, nor
aught but a distant relative who held a high
position in India.
It was to this relative he had sent out John
Eiley, and the young man might pecuniarily
have done well for himself in his new appoint-
ment, had he not commenced sending home all
he could spare in order to enable his family to
live more comfortably.
He would have done them a greater kind-
ness had he kept his money. To persons who
have always been short, the command of a little
money is a great snare as well as to those who
have never had much experience in spending ;
so at least it proved with Mrs. Eiley.
She had been compelled to do without so
many things during the previous part of her
life, that now when a few of them were within
her reach she tried to compass all; and the
result proved that not only was the Indian
io6 The EarPs Promise.
allowance spent, but the interest on the
mortgage fell into arrear.
^' When the girls are married, we can soon
retrench," Mrs. Eiley observed, but the girls
failed to marry. If they had not done so when
they lived quietly and dressed plainly, and
engaged themselves in those various works of
a domestic kind which recommend young ladies
to men of a prudent and economical turn of
mind, they were certainly likely to remain
unwedded when, arrayed in gorgeous attire
they were met at parties and balls in Dublin,
where it was their new custom to winter.
They never lacked partners, and they never
were destitute of attendant swains, who found
Woodbrook a pleasant sort of house at which
to stay for a week or two in the summer and
autumn ; but although the hopes of Mrs. Eiley
were often excited, they always ended in dis-
appointment. Visitors they had in abundance,
but suitors none ; till at length Lucy captivated
a curate, whose addition to the finances of the
family proved seventy pounds a year from his
rector, twenty-five pounds a year fr-om private
sources, and a baronet uncle.
Ahnost Too Late, lo'
^' Who will be certain to present him with a
good living,'' said Mrs. Eiley ; though on what
foundation she erected this pleasing super-^
structure was an inscrutable mystery to all her
Things were in this state when Lord
Ai'dmorne through his solicitors ascertained,
first, that if Mr. Erady did not actually hold
the mortgage he was intimately and pecuniarily
associated with those who did, and that it was
in his power to pull the strings which prompted
the movements of the ostensible actors ; second^
that the interest was running back ; third, that
the mortgage- deed contained some unusual and
stringent covenants; fourth, that the Wood-
brook estates were not returning the amount
of money they had once done ; and fifth, that
owing to failing health, the pressui'e of anxiety,
and the more exciting life he had in the
interests of his daughters been leading, the
General was becoming daily less and less
competent to act as his own agent and to
manage his own affairs.
Altogether the family prospects were in as
io8 The EarPs Promise.
deplorable a state as family prospects could be,
when Lord Ardmorne's solicitor went to confer
with General Kiley's legal adviser and General
It was from the latter gentleman that
information of the interest having fallen
behind was elicited.
Not being pressed for it, he, as frequently
happens in such cases, had not mentioned the
matter to those who would have advised him
to make any sacrifice in order to keep so
important an affair within manageable limits.
Piteously he confessed his error, and asked,
as people are in the habit of asking when
counsel is almost useless, what he was to do.
It had been agreed between Lord Ardmorne
and the lawyers that, in consideration of his
broken health and other causes, the fact of
Mr. Brady having managed to thrust his
fingers into the Eiley pie should not be
mentioned to the General ; that if a settlement
of the matter could be left until the son's
return, all explanations should be deferred till
he came back.
Almost Too Late. 109
The fii^st thing to be done was clearly to
wipe off the arrears of interest ; but as not an
acre of the "Woodbrook estate was free, General
Eiley's solicitors said openly that they failed
to see where the money was to come from.
Lord Ardmorne, however, having taken up the
affair, was not going to let this difficulty stop
him on the very threshold of his undertaking,
and instructed his lawyer to find the amount
He did not intend to be harsh to the General,
but he did tell the old man some very plain
truths concerning the risk he had run of
jeopardizing his son's inheritance ; and he
made a point of seeing Mrs. Eiley, then in
Dublin, and explaining to her that the old life
of paring and pinching would have to be
resumed if she did not wish Woodbrook to
pass into the hands of strangers.
^^It is all that girl's doing," groaned the
poor murmuring lady. ^^ But for her we should
have been comfortable and happy years and
Which remark set the marquis thinking.
no The EarPs Promise,
Jolm was a fine fellow, and, spite his encumbered
acres, not an ineligible imrti even for Grace
Moffat; but he failed to see how the little
romance he had planned could be carried out
if Mrs. Eiley were to be one of the dramatis
The lapse of years had not improved the
General's wife. Lord Ardmorne could imagine
many more desirable things than a close rela-
tionship with her, and he left the house think-
ing matters were complicating a little, and that
perhaps he should not be justified in dragging
Miss Moffat into the Eiley entanglement.
^' Perhaps the very best thing the young man
could do would be to persuade his father to
sell the estate right out and go back to India.
That, however, will be a matter for future dis-
cussion and consideration. Meantime, we can
do nothing but clear offthe arrears of interest."
In this, however, his lordship proved to be
mistaken. No sooner was the interest settled
than notice was served requiring the repayment
of the principal at the extremely short date
mentioned in the deed.
Almost Too Late, 1 1 1
Like most of his countrymen, Lord Ardmorne
had a passion for acquiring land. A townland
for sale, an estate in the market, these things
affected him as the news that a rare picture is
to be brought to the hammer affects a collector,
and "Woodbrook was a property he would have
felt by no means loth to add to those he already
But the knowledge of this desire tied his
tongue. In the General's extremity he could
not advise him to let the encumbered acres be
purchased by some one willing and able to
give enough for them to clear off the mortgage
and leave a margin beside.
Had he stepped in at this point and coun-
selled the General to do that which really
seemed the only rational way of solving the
di£S.culty, he would not have cared to meet the
man for whose return he had written.
'' I fancy it will have to come to that in the
end,'' he said to his solicitor in reply to a
remark from that gentleman, that the
sooner Woodbrook passed into other hands the
better it would be for every one, the General
112 The EarVs Promise.
included, " but we must leave it for the son to
"I do not exactly see how the decision is to
be left for so long a time," remarked the
lawyer. '' There can be no question it is all
a planned affair, and how any man's adviser
could permit such a deed to be signed baffles
'-'- "Well, you must remember when a state of
mortgage becomes chronic," said the marquis^
"people are apt to overlook symptoms that
would strike a person to whom the disease is
new. Besides which there was no choice as I
imagine in the matter. An old mortgage had
to be paid off, and under such circumstances it
is not always easy for a man to dictate his own
To which words of wisdom, coming from
a nobleman, the lawyer listened with deference
and attention as in duty bound ; but he
held naturally to his own opinion never-
Here, 'then, the Eileys had arrived at a
point where two roads met, and written on the
Almost Too Late, 113
finger-post in letters plain enough to those who
could read were the words — To Kuin.
Where the other road led was not so clearly-
indicated. It puzzled Lord Ardmorne himself,
though both long and clear-headed, to imagine
what the end of it all would be. He could
turn them out of the direct route to beggary,
and he meant to do so, but whether the second
path might not merely prove a round-about -
way to the same end he was not prepared
After all there is nothing on earth so
difficult as to manage another man's affairs
for him, even if he be willing to let liis
neighbour attempt the almost impossible
But about the end, Lord Ardmorne did
not mean to trouble himself till John Eiley's
return. "When that event happened, he pro-
posed to lay the whole difficulty of the position
before the younger man, and warn him against
attempting to drag an endless chain of debt
through yet another generation. Meantime
arrangements must be made f^for paying off
VOL. III. I
114 The EarPs Promise,
the existing mortgage; and when he had
done all he could in the matter — and with a
solvent nobleman and in Ireland that all was
considerable, — Lord Ardmorne found a pecu-
niary deficiency still existed that, although not
large in itself, was still sufficiently great to
cause perplexity and difficulty.
Up to this point he had decided not to
permit Grace to moil or meddle in the matter,
now he decided to leave her to say whether she
would help or not.
^^I will take care she is no loser," he said
to himself, ^'and also that she does not appear in
the transaction. I certainly will buy the place
if the father and son agree to sell; if not I must
arrange diffi3rently, that is all. So now to see
Miss Moffat, and ascertain whether she is still
willing to assist in saving an old family from
utter worldly ruin."
Very straightforwardly he put the state of
the case before ^'thc woman of John Eiley's
life," told her what he had done, and the precise
way in which she could best help, that help
being kept a secret between herself, himself, and
Almost Too Late, 115
Mrs. Hartley ; and if the subsequent con-
versation were rendered less connected by
reason of the widow's comments on the folly
of Mrs. Eiley and the childish weakness of her
husband, her remarks tended at least to make
it more exciting.
*' I should like to be of use to the General
or his son/' Grace said with a frankness which
caused Mrs. Hartley to shake for the ultimate
success of her project ; ^^ indeed, I should like
to serve any of them. It would be a sad thing
if for lack of a friendly hand Mrs. Eiley and
the girls had to leave Woodbrook."
^' It is clearly Lord Ardmorne's opinion that
the sooner they leave Woodbrook the better
for all concerned," observed Mrs. Hartley.
*' And in that opinion I entirely agree. If all
the poor Irish gentry were compelled to sell
their estates, and let people who have money
and sense purchase them, it would be a grand
thing for the country."
" English people seem to think there is
a necessary connection between money and
sense. I must say I fail to see the link my-
self," answered Grace. i 2
ii6 The EarVs P.
^^ I am inclined, however, to think the En-
glish capacity to make and to keep money
implies a considerable amount of sense," in-
terposed Lord Ardmorne.
^^It is not a pleasant sort of sense," per-
'^Perhaps not, but it is useful, my dear,"
said Mrs. Hartley. '-'• For instance, had your
grandfather squandered the fortune he made
instead of leaving it to you, he might have
been a more popular old gentleman, but he
could scarcely have proved himself so admirable
a person in his domestic relations as was the
'''• I sometimes wish he had never left me a
penny," remarked Grace a little bitterly.
^^What a shame for you to make such a
remark. Miss Moffat, at a time when youi* for-
tune enables you to step forward to the rescue
of your old friends," exclaimed Lord Ai'd-
morne, with an affectation of playful raillery
which sat upon him about as gracefully as a
cap and bells might have done.
'^Yes, it is a shame," Grace answered
Almost Too Late,
quietly; '^for about the first time in my life
I feel really thankful now that I am as rich as
^^Many other opportunities for thankfulness
from the same cause will present themselves in
the years to come, believe me," said their
" I only hope they may not have to leave
"Woodbrook," exclaimed Miss Mofiat, a little
irrelevantly to the conversation as it seemed.
^'Then you ought not to hope anything of
the kind," rebuked Mrs. Hartley. •- You
should hope that John may have enough reso-
lution and sufficient sense to free himself and
his family from the incubus of debt, that must
have made existence a daily and hourly tor-
ture and humiliation to the whole of them.
As I said before, if a law were passed com-
pelling the owners of heavily mortgaged pro-
perties to sell them, there might be a chance
of Ireland's regeneration. As matters stand
there is none."
If with prqphetic eye Mrs. Hartley had been
able to look forward a very little way, how she
ii8 The EarPs Promise,
would have longed for the Encumbered Estates
Court, and welcomed the changes every one
predicted must be wi'ought by it.
In those days capital and civilisation were
the favourite panaceas the English proposed
for all Irish troubles. In these the same
remedies are indirectly suggested, but the
English are now quite content to leave their
sister to find both for herself.
And no doubt the present course is the
correct one. The curse of all former adminis-
trations has been that instead of leaving
Ireland's diseases to be cured by time and
nature, each fresh political doctor has thought
it necessary to try his own new course of
treatment on the patient.
Fortunately the latest and rashest surgeon
who has experimented on her so far as to cut
away the grievance most bitterly complained
of, has discovered there may be a tendency to
hysteria in the constitution of a nation as well
as of a woman, and that it does not follow
because a cry is raised, ^^ The pain is here,"
that the arm or leg is to be hacked off with
Almost Too Late, 119
impunity. One man has deprived Ireland of
that which kings, nor queens, nor parliament,
nor statesman, can ever restore to her again.
Nevertheless, he may have done both England
and Ireland good service, for it will be some
time before the former is tempted to try the
result of another such surgical operation,
let the latter cry for knife and caustic as loud
and as long as she will.
ME. BRADY'S EX-PROJECTS.
When Mr. Brady found the Eileys had by
accident or design checkmated him, he was, as
a young clerk who chanced to be favoured
with many of his inquiries about that period,
remarked, ''ISTeither to hold nor to bind."
To ruin the Eileys, to oust the proud beg-
gars — so he styled them — out of "Woodbrook,
to bring the old man to his level, and to
humble the pride of ^Hhat fellow out in
India," had been the dearest desires of his
heart for years previously.
In order to compass them he had not spared
his time or his trouble ; he had not objected
Mr, Brady^s ex- Projects, 121
to wade through very dirty water, he had not
grumbled when asked to eat humble pie in
quantity ; he had not bemoaned himself when
compelled to cringe to people he longed to
kick, or be civil to those he hated; and now
in a moment all he had saved, toiled, lived for
was snatched from his grasp.
When a man first conceives the plot of
either a good or a bad project it is, comparatively
speaking, a small matter to find another has
forestalled him in its execution. Let him,
however, have nursed, tended, perfected the
scheme, lain with it in his bosom at night, and
taken it for his companion by day, he finds it
a cruel hardship to have the one thing he
fancied his own, the one good he asked in life,
claimed by another.
If the punishment of deliberate wrong-doing
ever could enlist our sympathies on behalf of
the wrong-doer, I think it might be in a case
like this, when a man having spent his all to
compass his object finds at the last that it
eludes his grasp ; when having staked every-
thing he possesses on the success of some
122 The EarPs Promise,
villanous trick in the game of life, his
intended victim, at a moment least expected,
says " Checkmate " and leaves him to curse
the board whereon his best designs, his longest-
matured schemes, have been defeated.
On Mr. Brady the news of his enemy being
at the last moment delivered out of his hands,
fell with such a shock that at first he could
not realize the depth of his own disappoint-
ment. Although the interest being paid might
have prepared him for the settlement of the
principal, he refused to believe his lawyers
when they told him the whole amount had by
some means been raised.
To incredulity succeeded all the fury of a
balked revenge, and in his rage he accused
both solicitors and capitalist with having con-
spired in General Eiley's favour against him-
self. He declared it was through them the
OAvner of "Woodbrook had heard of his own
interest in the matter, to which the former
replied by ordering him out of their office, and
the latter remarked that if Mr. Brady did not
put some restraint upon his tongue all trans-
actions must end between them.
Mr, Brady s ex- Projects. 123
^^ I am willing to make some allowance for
you," lie went on, " as I dare say the matter
is as great a blow to you as it has proved a sur-
prise to me ; but I will not have such language
as you used just now addressed to me by any
man living; so you can take your choice,
either try to be civil, or else I will have done
with you and your affairs at once and for
Whereupon Mr. Brady muttered something
intended for an apology, adding in a louder
'' If I only knew who has been meddling
in my affairs I would make it pleasant. He
would think twice before thrusting himself
into other people's business, I can tell him ! "
" "Well, when you find out who it is that
has upset your plans, you can tell him what
you like so far as I am concerned ; but, mean-
time, I will not have you vent your temper
on me. Eemember that for the future, sir, if
Whether it pleased him or not, Mr. Brady
knew he must remember the hint, and act
124 The EarPs Promise.
upon it ; and, therefore, set his face homeward
full of anger and mortification.
This was the first severe check his plans
had ever received, and in proportion to the
magnitude of the venture appeared the shock
of his failure.
Independent altogether of his desire to
beggar and humble a family he hated, Mr.
Erady had looked upon "Woodbrook as the El
Dorado whence he should in the future dig
fortune and position. He and his friend (who,
so far as disposition and character were con-
cerned, might be considered a not unworthy
match-horse even to Mr. Brady), had long pre-
viously laid their plans, not merely for the
acquisition of Woodbrook, but also how they
intended to make that acquisition valuable to
It had been proposed by Mr. Brady's co-
adjutor to give that gentleman a share of the
profits in consideration of his fertile brain
having devised the scheme, and of his un-
wearying industry being necessary to carry it
Mr. Brady's ex- Projects, 125
Mr. Brady's idea, on the other hand, was by
degrees to work the capitalist out. He had
not decided how the feat was to be performed,
but he was well aware that it would be an ex-
tremely good thing for him if he could manage
to get the whole power into his own hands.
In the first instance he would require
assistance, and that to a large extent, but he
did not despair of finding himself ultimately the
owner of, at all events, a large portion of the
Money and revenge — these two desirable
things he hoped to compass at a single blow —
and now the castle of his dreams, the fairy
palace which he had mentally erected from
foundation to lofty pinnacle, was level with the
He had been beaten and by the Eileys. Who-
ever else might realize the project he had been
perfecting for years, Mr. Daniel Brady should
reap no advantage from it.
About the time when he first began to think
of annexing Woodbrook, ^' going to the salt
water for the benefit of sea bathino" was
126 The EarPs Promise.
becoming a recognized necessity even amongst
those who had never previously thought of
permitting their families such an indulgence.
From inland rural districts, as well as from
the towns great and sraiall, people came troop-
ing for that ^^ month at the shore," which it
was believed made weakly children strong, and
kept healthy children strong and robust.
Each summer Kingslough was crowded by
visitors. Poor cottages — no matter how small
or poor, provided they were situated close on
the bay — were eagerly taken by those to whom
economy was an object ; and it must have been
plain even to a much less intelligent gentleman
than Mr. Brady that, if the accommodation in
Kingslough and its neighbourhood had been
twice as great, willing guests might still be
found to avail themselves of it.
So far, however, no one had thought of
building houses solely and simply for the benefit
of season residents, and it was by a plan of
this kind Mr. Brady hoped to make Wood-
Part of the property stretched down to the
Mr, Brady's ex- Projects, 127
sea. The water at that distance from Kingslough
was represented better for bathing than that
which washed the grey shore below Ballylough
Abbey. The beach was of finer sand, a head-
land stretched out into the sea sufficiently far
to suggest the idea of erecting a quay, at which
steamers could anchor at almost all conditions
of the tide. The scenery was wilder and more
beautiful than that surrounding Kingslough.
Already there was a talk of a short sea route
being inaugurated not merely between Scotland
and Ireland, but between England and Ireland;
and Mr. Brady, though he did not erect his
castle on the strength of either English or
Scotch money, considered it quite on the cards
that from the great manufacturing towns in
Lancashire, and even from Glasgow, people
might come to spend the summer at Glendarc.
That was the name he proposed to confer on
the new watering-place, not because he was
especially fond of the Glendares, but because he
considered the title one likely to recommend
itself to natives and foreigners alike. He had
seen enough of English people to understand
128 The Ear Vs Promise.
the horror which seizes them at sight or sound
of a long Irish name, such as Ballinascraw, for
instance ; on the other hand, he knew the
inhabitants of the Green Isle still retained a
preference for words indigenous to the soil.
The fashion of wiping out old landmarks, by
rechristening romantic spots with prosaic
British names, had not then begun, and he ,
would indeed have been considered an adven-
turous man — adventurous to madness — who
founding a settlement on the other side of the
Channel, blew the trumpets and assembled the
people to hear the town christened Piccadilly,
Kensington, or Wandsworth, as is the case at
Mr. Erady therefore decided on Glendare,
as a name likely to wear well and find favour
in the minds of the multitude. Lying idly on
his oars, looking with his bodily eyes at the
land dotted with trees, sloping so lovingly to
the beach, — his mental sight beheld villas
filling up the landscape, snug cottages
scattered along the shore, a town perhaps
climbiDg up the sides of the headland. The
Mr. Brady s ex- Projects. 129
vision grew more real every day. He had
drawn his plans, he had decided from which
quarry stone should be carted ; he had thought
how much money he could himself afford as a
beginning, how much and at what rate he could
raise to complete the scheme ; pleasure-boats
in imagination he saw drawn up on the shore,
small gardens filled with flowers, lawns on
which walked ladies gaily dressed, — gentlemen
rich enough to pay long rents for convenient,
comfortably furnished houses. There was not
another property so suitable for the purpose as
Woodbrook in all that part of the country ; and
the beauty of it was that, whilst those few acres
by the sea could be so admirably utilized, the
domain itself might remain almost intact, the
farms still be left as they were, the former
tenants still permitted to pay rents to new
And all the while unconscious of the evil-
eye coveting his home, his lands, his son's
inheritance, General Eiley pursued his way,
never imagining beggary was coming to liim
AS fast as the feet of misfortune could bring it.
VOL. III. K
130 The EarPs Promise,
Lulled into a state of fancied security — sus-
pecting no trick, thinking of no worse trouble
in the future than a day when the arrears
would have to be j^aid — the old man was, by
reason of utter ignorance, and, it may be,
natural carelessness, drifting on rocks from
which his ship could never have been hindered
breaking to pieces, — when he was saved as by
What would be the ultimate end it might
have puzzled a wiser than the General to say,
but for a time, at least, Woodbrook was
though not out of debt, out of danger. Every
one connected with the matter felt nothing
more could be done in the affair till John came
Meantime it oozed out, as indeed no one
strove to prevent the story doing, that Mr.
Brady and his friend had laid a deliberate trap
for the General, and people began to say some
very hard things about the master of Mary-
ville in consequence ; all the sins of his youth
and his manhood were rehearsed, as sins will
be on such occasions ; all the wrong he had
Mr, Brady's ex- Projects, 131
done in his lifetime, all the right he had left
undone, all his errors of omission and commi|^
sion, all his subterfuges and tricks, his faults
social and domestic, the grief he had caused to
many an honest father and mother; these
things and others like them were disinterred
from the always open grave of the past, and
discussed alike in mansion and cottage in the
town of Kingslough, and in other towns, be-
sides in the country districts throughout all
After a fashion, he had, up to this time,
been making way with his fellows. His wife
was not visited by any lady higher in rank
than the wife of the minister who preached at
the barn-like little meeting-house a couple of
miles or so from Mary ville, but men of a better
class, though of a bad way of li^dng, did'not
object to be seen in Mr. Brady's company, and
were willing to drink, smoke, make small bets
and play cards with him, not merely at various
hotels and inns in Kingslough and the other
towns, but at his own house.
Now there came a change, nameless, per-
132 The EarPs Proviise,
haps, but certain. There was no direct cut,
^ absolute incivility, no alteration in manner
of which it was possible to take notice, but his
former acquaintances were always in a hurry
when he met them, always had an engagement,
always had to meet some one or go somewhere,
and rarely now could find time to spend an
hour or two in the evening at Mar^^ville.
After all it was not right, these men opined,
to have tried to drive the old General out of
Woodbrook. The line must be drawn some-
where, and Kingslough drew it at that point
which Mr. Brady had tried to cross.
Kingslough considered he ought to have
refrained from meddling with a gentleman.
Nothing could have revealed so certainly the
taint in Mr. Brady's blood as an attempt of
such a nature. The marquis went up at once
in public estimation. Many persons who had
long been wishing to change their political
creed, since Eadical notions had begun to make
Liberalism rather the creed of the vulgar, took
that opportunity of tui-ning their coats.
" It was a very fine thing of Ardmorno to
Mr. Brady s ex- Projects, 133
do," said Kingslough, Kilcurragh, Glenwellan,
and the neighbouring districts. He had gone
with General Eiley to the Bank of Ireland'
himself, it was stated ; he had found the extra
money required beyond what the bank would
advance. He had written to request Mr. John
Eiley 's presence, and arranged that his prospects
should not suffer in consequence. In a time of
trouble he had proved more than a friend, and
then it was so clever of him to have found out
that danger menaced the Kileys, and of what
Of course, some one must have given him a
clue, but he followed it up to the last inch of
thread. Then came the question, who could
have hinted the matter to him ?
Conjecture, which it is never possible to
balk, guessed every likely and unlikely person
in the county. Euniour, which is the readiest
inventor of fiction on earth, prepared a score of
circumstantial tales on the subject, and ran
them through society with as much regu-
larity as any other serial writer might.
On the Avhole, public opinion inclined to the
134 ^/^^ Emd^ Promise.
belief that Mr. Dilhvyn was the person who
had opened Lord Ardmorne's eyes. It was well
known that when the new earl succeeded to the
title, Mr. Brady had taken a journey in order to
malign Mr. Dilh\yn, and secure the agency for
himself, and so much unpleasantness had in
consequence arisen that Mr. Somerford's step-
father actually did resign, offered on certain
conditions to vacate Eosemont, and expressed
his opinion of Mr. Brady and the Glendares
in language as remarkable for its force as its
It was only at the earPs earnest entreaty he
continued to act until another agent could be
"And that other agent will not be Mr.
Daniel Brady in tliis earPs time," said Mr.
Dillwyn triumphantly, on his return from
foreign travel — which remark clearly proved
that the feelings he entertained towards the
owner of Mary ville were not strictly Christian
in their nature.
Society at Kingslough had for. so long a
time been accustomed to disagreements be-
Mr, Bi^ady^s ex- Projects, 135
tween the Glendares and their agents, that it
had paid comparatively little attention to this
last dispute, except to marvel whether Mr.
Dillwyn would really go, and if so who would
step into his shoes. But now when every one
was anxious to know who it was that en-
lightened Lord Ardmorne, the passage be-
tween the agent and Mr. Brady was remem-
bered, and a certain significance attached
In a word, though rumour invented and
circulated fifty stories, this was the one to
which people, as a rule, inclined. Mr. Brady
himself was perhaps the only person who at-
tached no importance to it. As at first, he be-
lieved that either his own or his friend's lawyer,
or his friend himself, had proved unfaithful ; so
at last he believed that one or other of the per-
sons with whom he was most closely connected
by ties of interest had — by imprudence or
of malice prepense — betrayed his plans.
No one else, he was positive, had the
faintest luiowledge of them. By intuition Mr.
Dillwyn could not have guessed his tactics, and
136 The EarPs Promise,
it mattered little who it was that had finally
carried the news to Lord Ardmorne, when
once the secret escaped from the custody of
those who ought to have held it secure.
To discover the person who originally be-
trayed it, suddenly became the most para-
mount business of Mr. Brady's life, and IN'ettie
often wondered to herself whether the best
thing she could do might not be to run away
to the uttermost ends of the earth, taking the
children with her.
^^For if he ever finds it out he certainly
will kill me," thought the -wretched woman,
and she thenceforth lived in a constant agony
of fright. After all, no matter how tired a
person may be of the business of existence,
one would like to have a choice as to the mode
of getting rid of the toil and the sorrow ; and
perhaps the most repulsive way of having the
trouble ended seems that of being murdered.
There had been times when Nettie felt
tempted to bring matters to a conclusion for
herself — and that method of shortening the
weary day now seemed luxurious by com-
Mr. Brady's ex-Projeds. 137
parison with, any termination which involved
the ceremony of im mauvais quart cVlieure^
with Mr. Brady as an essential preliminary.
So far as affairs at the Castle Farm were
concerned, General Eiley's business took pre-
cedence of Amos Scott's. Having quarrelled
with his own solicitors, Mr. Brady had to
carry the Scott difficulty elsewhere. Out, Mr.
Brady was determined the farmer, his wife,
and his children should go ; but short of pull-
ing the house down about their ears, there
seemed no possibility of getting rid of them ;
and for all his braggart airs, he was not pre-
pared to take a step of that kind if he could
avoid doing so.
That rough-and-ready method of ejectment,
which found such favour in tho south and
west, never recommended itself to the northern
understanding. The thing has been done, of
course : the roofs have been stripped off ; the
windows taken out ; the doors torn from their
hinges ; in extreme cases the very walls un-
dermined, and the house razed with the
ground ; but patient as the northern tempera-
138 TJie EarPs Promise.
ment is, I doubt if a landlord could enjoy
much ease of mind supposing he saw a man
like Amos Scott sitting by his naked hearth —
with the heavens for his rooftree, and the
wind and the rain blowing and beating on his
Upon the whole, supposing imagination pre-
sented the picture of such a reality, the land-
lord's dreams — let right be on his side or
wrong — would be of coffins and of a violent
exit into that other world where all the vexed
questions of this will — as we fondly hope — be
settled to the satisfaction of the poor, the op-
pressed, the broken-hearted.
Curious to say, although Mr. Brady was a
bully he was not also a coward ; which seems
as inconsistent a statement as to say a negro is
not black. Nevertheless, it is the truth. The
man was not destitute of physical courage.
He had writhed mentally under the taunts
hurled at him by the Eileys ; but he would
not have feared a stand-up fight with the son
— a hand to hand struggle, with liberty given
to each to kill if he were able.
Mr, Brady's cx-Projeds. 139
Nevertheless, Mr. Brady had gone almost
as far with the Scotts as he cared to do. He
had dug their potatoes and sold them, cut the
grass and saved it, reaped the corn and carried
it, sown the land with seed, that was again
hastening to fruition; but beyond this he
hesitated to go. The law must do the rest, he
said ; but spite of the fact of justice being on
his side, he found the law liked the task of
turning Amos Scott out on the world rather
less than he did.
"When a bailiff came to take possession of
the household gods, gathered together care-
fully, anxiously, in the first part of the Scott's
married life, he was received by husband and
wife, one armed with a blunderbuss and the
other with a pike, a relic of ninety-eight.
'^ Honest man,'' said Amos, miscalling him
in an access of civility, ^^ honest man, if ye
want to sit down to rest ye're kindly wel-
come ; if ye want bite or sup, we can give
ye share of what we have ourselves, water
and a meal bannock ; but if ye lay a finger
on anything in this house and claim for that
I40 The EarPs Promise.
devil Brady I'll shoot ye dead. I've made
Tip my mind to slay the first who meddles with
the inside of that half-door, so if anything
happens your Llood will be upon youi* own
head, not upon mine."
The result of which speech was that the man
neither stopped nor took breath till he found
himself in Kingslough again. There was a
steady light in Scott's eye, and a suggestive-
ness about the way in which he kept his
finger on the trigger, ill-calculated to make
visiting at the Castle Farm pleasant to a person
of the bailiff's profession.
Afterwards Amos declared '-'- He only meant
to fear the man ; " but if this were so his sport
was sufficiently like earnest to carry conviction
Matters had arrived at this pass, in a word :
people whispered Scott was dangerous and
that Mr. Brady went armed. Further, popular
sympathy was with Scott, and the very ballad
singers had long slips of badly printed dog-
grel reciting the doings of Mr. Daniel Brady
from his youth upAvards, and enlargiDg upon
Mr. Brady's ex- Projects, 141
the fact not only of his having " decoyed a
lovely maiden to a land beyond the seas," but
of his trying subsequently
" To cajole a gallant gentleman,
And leave liis son so poor."
Some kind friend managed that Kettie
should be favoured with a sight of one of
these precious productions.
''If he kills me one day they will sing all
about that through the streets," she thought
with a shiver.
Blue eyes and golden haii', what a day's
work you wrought when in the bright sun-
shine you went away with Daniel Brady,
trusting the whole future of your young life
in his hands.
KINGSLOUGH IS PLACARDED.
Public opinion is treacherous and unmanage-
able as the sea. One hour a man is sitting
high and dry watching the waves encircle
some far away object ; the next he beholds
them hurrying in to engulf himself.
Once the tide sets against any person, it
increases in volume and strength every mo-
ment, but there are no precise means of know-
ing when it will turn in this manner or of
telling why it has done so.
Past as they could flow the waters of
popular dissatisfaction were running against
Kingslough is Placarded, 143
At a local meeting held at Glenwellan,
which he had the courage or the hardihood to
attend, he was hissed, whilst General Eiley's
appearance proved the signal for loud and pro-
Some who were sufficiently indiiferent to
both men to be able to observe accurately,
reported that Mr. Brady turned white to the
lips at a display of feeling so decided and so
unexpected ; and this is sufficiently probable,
since those who are the most ready to defy
the opinion of their fellows are the least will-
ing to put up with the consequences such
defiance usually entails.
Be this as it may, Mr. Brady a few days
later was not greatly surprised when on offer-
ing to transfer his business to a more scrupu-
lous firm of solicitors than those to whom he
had previously entrusted the conduct of his
difficulties, the proposal was courteously but
^'I shall live it down," thought Mr. Brady
as he strode out of the office, his hat crushed
a little over his brows.
144 The EarPs Promise,
He had said the same thing before, and he
had done it ; hut after all, each year in a man's
age, each upward step he has climbed, render
that ''living down" a more difficult business
It is impossible to go on having a leg broken
and reset without becoming slightly a cripple,
and it is more impossible still that a character
shall go through a blackening process time
after time and come out white in the end.
Mr. Brady had set himself a harder task
than he imagined when he talked of living
down the effects of his latest error, and if he
did not know this Nettie did; l^ettie who,
hearing all that was going on, having read
those ballads which found swift sale at the
somewhat high price of one halfpenny each,
having seen the '' dour " looks cast on her
husband in the barn-like meeting-house, ven-
tured to ask him if he did not think it would
be better to sell all they possessed and remove
to another part of the country.
Whereupon, he turned with passionate fury,
with the mad anger of a brutal nature, ad-
Kings lougk is Placarded. 145
dressing the only person who was completely
hopelessly in his power, and reproached her
with having been the curse of his life, the
ruin of his prospects, the sole cause of every
misfortune that had befallen him,
^'I wish to God I had never set eyes on
you," he said. *^ If I must be such a fool as
to marry, I ought to have married some one
who would have been a help instead of a
burden, a woman capable of doing something
besides bringing a tribe of fretful, delicate
children into the world."
'^ You ought to have married a woman,
Daniel Brady," answered I^ettie calmly, ^^who
the first blow you gave her would have had you
up before the magistrate and punished for it."
'•^ None of your insolence or it will be worse
for you," he interrupted.
" Who," continued ISTettie, shiinking a little
with a physical terror which had become
habitual, "would have insisted on having
things suitable for herself and her children,
and who, if you had not provided them would
have left you."
VOL. III. L
146 TJie EarVs Promise.
'-'- Perhaps you are tliinking of doing some-
thing of the kind," he suggested with the
demon which was in him looking threateningly
out of his eyes.
" No," she said wearily; ^'I do not care
about anything for myself now, it was only for
the children's sake I spoke ; only to get them
away from a place where their father's sins are
sung through the streets, where — "
He did not let her finish the sentence. He
struck her down where she stood, and with a
parting piece of advice to ^^keep a quieter
tongue in her head or it would be worse for
her and her brats too," left the room, banging
the door after him.
There was nothing in this so particularly
new as to astonish Nettie. She was not much
hurt, but as she raised herself slowly to a
sitting position, she put her hand to her head
with a gesture as of one suffering some cruel
'^How long," she murmured, ^' how long
can I bear it ? God grant me strength to
endure to the end. If mothers could foresee
Kinorslouo/i is Placarded, 147
%i> "^ <b
•what ^Deliver us from eviP may some
day come to mean, tliey might hope their
habies would never live to learn a prayer."
Mr. Brady's mother it may reasonably be
supposed had been tempted to indulge in
somewhat similar thoughts before death con-
siderately removed her from a contemplation of
her son's demerits ; and certainly public opinion
had so rapidly discovered all the shortcomings
of the owner of Maryville that it was tacitly
admitted, (so far as human judgment could
understand), if he had never been born it'would
have been better for him and all belonging to
One of the effects of this widely -spread
prejudice against a man who, determined to
rise by his own efforts, had certainly spared
no pains in the attempt, was that from having
his wrongs comparatively speaking overlooked
Amos Scott became at once a popular and dis-
tinguished individual. Letters were sent to
certain newspapers on the subject of tenant-
right, in which Scott's case was mentioned.
Leaders were written referring directly to the
148 The EarPs Promise,
still unsettled dispute at the Castle Farm,
and indirectly to the attempt of one of the
disputants to appropriate the inheritance of a
gentleman of whom the county was deservedly
Mr. Brady threatened to proceed against
the proprietor of one of the Kilcurragh papers
unless an apology were inserted, but the pro-
prietor inserted no apology, and no proceedings
were instituted. A man who has a whole
county against him may well be excused for
dreading the cross-examination of an Irish
barrister, and this man dreaded it with a
wholesome horror, and was discreet accord-
All this time Amos Scott was retailing his
grievances to lawyer after lawyer, walking
many miles to ^^ get speech " of gentlemen he
thought might take his part, and get him his
rights as he called them.
He would be off early in the morning — a
piece of oat- cake, or griddle bread, in the
pocket of his home-spun blue frieze coat,
and he would come home at night foot-sore
Kingslough is Placarded. 149
and weary, having broken his fast with no
other food save that mentioned, washed down
by a draught of water from some way-side
brook, too tired to eat, too sick at heart to
For all men were in the same story. Whether
they expressed sorrow for his misfortunes or
told him by their manner his affairs were no
concern of theirs, Ihe result proved identical.
Nothing could be done in the matter. No
money — no influence — no lapse of time — no
amount of trouble could undo the evil brought
by that promise which the Earl had forgotten
almost as soon as made.
Lawyers of course took a prosaic view of
the affair, and simply assured Scott there was
no use in throwing good money after bad; that
he had no case, and they could not make one for
him; whilst even those private individuals
who commiserated him most, could not refrain
from expressing wonderment at the utter
simplicity which caused him to take no
manner of precaution for his own safety in the
150 The Eaidh Promise.
^'What would you have had me do, sir?'^
lie asked one gentleman piteouslj. '^What
more did I want than Th' AirPs word ? Sure, if
I had told him I'd do a thing, that would have
been as good as any bond, and me only a poor
man labouring with my hands to keep me and
my wife and the family.
^' Says Th' Airl to me, says he,
'''- ^ The land's yours for three lives longer, and
you can put in one of the three for yourself.'
^^So then I asked him, would I take the
money on to the agent, and he says,
'^ ^ No, you may give it to me.'
^^And I counted the notes into his own
hand. I mind how the sun shone on a ring
he had on his finger while I was doing it.
Then I asked him about the writings, and he
said, they couldn't be signed till Hemy the
young airl came of age, but that if Lady Jane
died before he did so, he would see me safe.
'' He was riding off when he tui-ned, and said,
^^ ^ I suppose though, my good fellow, you arc
on the right side, because if not, I must give
you back your money, and let somebody that
have the renewal.'
Ki7igslough is Placarded, 151
''He said it joking like. He was always
free and pleasant in his way Th' Airl."
A simple enough narrative, which no one
who heard it doubted the truth of for a
moment. A narrative which was recited by
many a stump orator of the day, and stirred
the hearts of thousands who were or who
imagined themselves to be labouring under
injustice as great and as irremediable.
Simple as it was, however, no human being
could persuade Amos Scott that any of his
listeners perfectly understood it. Had even
one amongst the number done so, he felt quite
satisfied he should hear no more said about his
defiance being worse than useless.
"If I could only make yer honour com-
prehend it," he said reproachfully, though
respectfully, to Lord Ardmorne's agent, who
spite of his having, as he assured Amos over
and over again, nothing whatever to do with
the Glendares or their tenants, had been seized
upon by the farmer for help and sympathy,
" you would see it as I see it."
"Mr. Scott," answered the agent solemnly,
152 The EarPs Promise.
^^ if I could only make you comprehend it, you
would see how hopeless your position is."
"When, however, did argument or assertion
convince an obstinate, uneducated man. If
such a miracle were ever wrought by earthly
means, it was not in the case of the poor
misguided farmer who wandered about the
country seeking help from this one and that,
discoursing about his wrongs in lonely cabins,
telling his grievances to chance companions,
wasting his slender means in feeing such
lawyers as would take his money, and in
providing food for such of his family as were
still at home.
David had returned Miss Moffat's loan to
that young lady with a characteristic note, in
which, after thanking her for her goodness and
telling her how troubled in his mind he was to
hear of the master's death, he went on to say
how grateful he should be in case she had no
need of the money if she would lend it to his
next oldest brother, who was mad to join him."
And now two of the sons were in America, two
of the daughters in service, and Eeuben read}-
Kingslongh is Placarded. 153
to take a schoolmaster's place when the old
people could spare him.
" But I cnn't leave them yet, Miss Grace,"
he wrote. "I am not much use here, I
know; but still I can speak a word to the
father when he comes home at night, and the
mother is too heartsore to ask him ' what
luck ?' She is keen on now for us to start for
America, but the father won't hear talk of it.
David sent her home a pound two months ago,
and another last week ; a man who went out
from these parts twenty years since, and who
has never been in Ireland again till now,
brought it, and some odds and ends of presents,
amongst other thiugs a walking-stick that we
often say would have just pleased the master ;
it is so light, though so big ; it is made from
the root of the vine, Mr. Moody says, and
seems wonderful handy for almost any purpose.
He tells us America is the poor man's country,
and it seems like it. He Avcnt away with as
little as any of us, and he has come home
dressed like a gcmtleman, with gold studs in
his shirt, and a gold watch and chain, and not
154 The EarPs Promise.
a word of Irish in his tongue. It is just won-
derful to hear how like a native-born Ame-
rican he talks. He tried to persuade my
father to leave Avhat he calls the ^rotten old
ship ' and make for ' new diggins,' but my
father bid him not talk about things he has
no knowledge of, and the decent man went
away, offended like."
But in this Eeuben Scott chanced to be
mistaken ; Mr. Moody did not cease visiting at
the Castle Farm because he was offended with
its owner. He only did so as he chanced
to remark to an acquaintance, because he
never had cared for society where ^'pistols
and bowie knives were lying about, and he
guessed there would be one or the other at
work before Scott moved away from his clear-
Affairs had arrived at this pass when Mr.
Brady, finding the law in his own province
slow to assist him, decided on going to Dub-
lin and seeking counsel there.
Not having confined to his own bosom the
purport of this journey, the Kingslough rabble
Kingsloitgh is Placarded. 155
got hold of it, and decided that an auspicious
time for giving public expression to their feel-
ings had arrived.
A meeting therefore was convened to take
place on the day of Mr. Brady's departure,
when it was decided that gentleman should be
hung in effigy, and a scaffold for this laudable
purpose was actually in course of erection,
Avhen an extremely strong hint from the ma-
gistrates stopped its further progress. IN'ot to
be defeated, however, within twenty-four hours
Kingslough and its neighbourhood was startled
from its propriety by the sight of monster
bills, which- occupied every available space
where it was possible to placard the announce-
ment, stating that the body of Mr. Daniel Brady
would be removed from Somerford Street to
its place of interment on the following day,
at four o'clock p.m., when the attendance of
friends would be esteemed a favour.
Now Somerford Street — not an inconsider-
able thorouglifarc in the early days of Bally-
lough — had by a not infrequent turn of times'
wheel become one of the lowest, dirtiest, most
156 The EarPs Promise.
disreputable lanes in Kingslougli — a lane where
vice and filth caroused in wretched fashion
together ; where sin and misery waved their
rags in defiance of law and decency ; whence
respectability fled as from the plague ; where
vshame, remorse, repentance, hope, could not
exist for an hour, save it might be — and some-
times God be praised it was — for a few hours
in the last extremity.
To condense the whole matter into a sen-
tence, Somerford Street was as bad a street as
could have been found even in the Liberties of
Dublin, and its inhabitants were a s little like
men, women, and children, as men, women,
and children can ever be. It was a place
which, even in its own small way, need not
have been afraid to hold up its head with very
much more notorious courts and lanes London
is sufficiently blessed to reckon within a cer-
tain area of Charing Cross at the present day ;
and it was from this den, inhabited by vice
and misery, that Mr. Brady's obsequies were
announced to take place.
What did it mean ? Kingslough asked itself
Kingslough is Placai'dcd. 157
in a dull, stupid, inconsequent sort of
In a few hours more Kingslough knew, for
over the first bills were pasted a second series
so scurrilous, so profane, that nowhere out of
the Isle of Saints could so scandalous a broad-
sheet have been produced.
They were not torn down. Decent people
did not care to be mixed up in such an affair ;
the authorities were averse to acting in the
matter without advice and consultation, and
perhaps feared, as authorities in great cities
have since unwisely feared, to make mountains
out of molehills by premature interference.
So Kingslough read, and held up its hands,
or gravely shook its head, or passed on with-
out sign, or smiled with grim approval of the
atrocious bill, or expressed its sympathy in
drunken words full of significance, and looks
more significant still.
It was the early summer time. Once again
the crops were springing and ripening at the
Castle Farm. Crops not sown this time by
Amos or one belonging to him; and it was
158 TJie EarPs Promise.
light in that northern latitude so soon in the
morning, that to get out in the grey dawn
almost involved sitting up during the few
hours of the short night.
^Nevertheless, in the grey dawn some one was
astir tearing down those disgraceful placards.
Slowly and calmly the sea came rippling in on
the shore, closely the blinds were drawn on
the Parade and in the houses of Glendare
Terrace, in the east there was still not a
glimpse of the rising sun, whilst rapidly and
nervously the flitting figure did its work.
All at once a burly brute, who, having busi-
ness far away at an early hour had risen be-
times, turned a corner suddenly, and caught
sight of a dark figure engaged in the work of
destruction. With a whoop and a shout he
rushed forward ; with a shriek the woman, for
it was a woman, fled.
Swift as she was he gained upon her; she
left the rough pavement and sped like a grey-
hound along the more level road, all in vain.
Panting, sobbing, she heard the thud of his
heavy shoes almost at her heels, felt in imagi-
Kingslough is Placarded. 159
nation his hand on her shoulder, when suddenly
turning the corner of a street to try to escape
him, she fell almost into the arms of a third
person, who, in less time than it takes me to
write the words, had planted a good serviceable
blow between the eyes of her pursuer, and sent
him sprawling in the gutter.
" Mrs. Brady," he said, turning to the
apparition which had so suddenly greeted his
vision, ^^what in Heaven's name has brought
you here at this time of night ? "
'-^ I — " she began in a broken husky voice,
" I heard of it all and came," at which point
she gave up trying to explain, and dropped
down in a heap on the nearest doorstep in-
" Here is a delightful complication," thought
Mr. Hanlon as he looked first at the burly
brute just gathering himself together, and
skulking off with a look of ineffable hate over-
spreading his countenance, and then at Mrs.
Erady, whose light figure he supported with
one hand while fumbling for his latch-key
with the other.
i6o The EarPs P>
Had tlie gift of second sight been voucliafed
to that clever surgeon and mistaken orator, he
would have fled from Kingslough within an
hour more swiftly than Lot did from the
Cities of the Plain, to avoid being mixed up
with the evil to come.
Passing through Kingslough en route from
India to "Woodbrook, Mr. John Eiley was so
fortunate as to obtain a good view of the vaga-
bond procession that accompanied Mr. Brady's
effigy to its resting-place; and perhaps that
gentleman had never felt so little proud of his
countrymen as when — his driver compelled to
draw the horse on one side and halt, in order
to allow the rabble to pass — he beheld a crowd
composed of the very scum of the population
marching in irregular fashion to the noise made
by several cows' -horns, a fife, a drum, and a
fiddle, the latter musical instrument being
VOL. III. M
1 62 The EarPs Promise,
played by a blind man seated in a rickety
cart, to which, with sundry broken leathern
straps and stronger pieces of rope, a half-
starved donkey was harnessed.
There they came, the lowest of the low,
accompanied by women who looked as though
they had lost every attribute of their sex, and
were indeed only human because of their utter
abject misery. On they came, most of them
women, ragged, bonnetless, shoeless, and stock-
ingless, clad in dirt as in a garment; their
masses of unkempt, uncared-for hair, twisted
into loose untidy coils at the back of their
heads ; a terrible sight to one who had almost
forgotten such a sight was to be seen. Nor
were the men one whit better, shambling along
in old shoes never made for them, with torn
coats or jackets, with trousers from which
every trace of the original cloth had vanished,
with hats and caps of every conceivable form,
battered, rimless, napless, or ragged, with tufts
of hair in some instances shooting like rank grass
through holes in the crown, with faces always
wild, reckless, haggard, now lit up with an
Bad News. 163
almost demoniac excitement. On they came,
cheering, cursing, singing, shouting, followed
pell-mell by all the rosy-cheeked, fair-haired,
bare-legged, bare-footed, dirty -faced children
in the town, who danced after the procession
right merrily. Some there were better clothed
than those composing the mass of the crowd :
men with sedate faces and unmended coats and
sound shoes, who looked as though they gave
their presence as a solemn duty, but who were
careful to keep on the sidepaths, and allow the
unwashed multitude in the roadway as wide a
berth as possible.
In the middle of the people, borne on the
shoulders of four stalwart ruffians, was the so-
called corpse; a door torn from its hinges
serving the purpose of a bier, and a piece of
sacking answering for a pall.
A hideous spectacle altogether ; but then as
now there was no particular reason why the
innocent diversions of the masses should be
^^ What are they doing — what does it mean
— what is it all about ? " asked Mr. Eiloy of
his driver. m 2
164 The EarPs Pro7?iise.
^' Don't keep your face turned their way,"
answered the man in a hurried whisper. ^' If
they even* who you are they'll be wantin'
to chair you. It's burying Brady's effigy all
this is about. Come, now, keep your distance
all of you," he continued, addressing some
irrepressible beggars, who, seeing a stranger,
at once appealed to him for help, and with
scant ceremony he began using his whip to
right and left, and so kept the most importu-
nate at bay till the procession had passed.
" What has Mr. Brady been doing now ? "
asked Mr. Eiley with some curiosity, as they
drove on once more.
" Nothin' much fresh, yer honour ; but
they've taken a hathred to him, and wanted
to hang him, but the magistrates woulchi't let
them put up a gallows, so now they're goin' to
bury him on the sea-shore. He's away to Dublin
to get all the law money can buy against Amos
Scott, and that has stirred them up a bit."
Meantime the crowd surged on to the beach,
which the receding tide had left bare, and
Bad News. 165
across the shore still wet and glistening,
through pools of water, over slippery bunches
of seaweed, the bearers went, stumbling and
staggering, whilst the band playing more lu-
gubrious airs than ever led the way, and
the men and the women and the children
followed hooting, laughing, screaming.
Arrived at the extremest distance from
high-water mark it was possible to reach, a
hole was dug and the body tossed in. The
most voluble member of the assemblage then
mounted the donkey-cart, and with a sheet
wrapped round him to imitate a surplice, pro-
ceeded to deliver a travesty of the Burial Ser-
vice over the grave. In language as deficient
of ordinary decency as it was full of horrible
profanity, he recounted the history of Daniel
Brady from his cradle to his grave, and
narrated to an admiring audience the way of
life chosen by this man whose loss they had to
deplore. A few there were among the by-
standers possessed of courage enough to cry
'' Shame ! " at passages more than usually
ribald and impious, but their voices were
1 66 The EarPs P>
drowned by shrieks of laughter, by cheers and
exclamations of appreciation.
When the merriment had reached its height,
however, a man came picking his steps over the
shore, and making his way a little into the
crowd, shouted, ^' Silence ! " in a tone that rang
high above the clamour, and seemed to
wander out like the dying sound of a clarion's
note over the quiet sea.
'^ "We can't have any more of this," he said.
^' Eobert Sweeney take off that rag and get out
of the cart. Mcllwrath, I am astonished to see
a respectable man like you countenancing such
disgraceful proceedings. Be off home all of you.
I shall not allow you to stay here another
" You'll let us cover the poor fellow up snug,
or the tide '11 be taking him a dance?" entreated
one man with a squint and short of an arm.
"Be quick about it then/' was the answer, and
the sand was shovelled in, and then trodden
down by heavy boots, each by-stander who
wore such articles giving the grave a hearty
kick, even the women left the prints of theii'
Bad Neii)s. 167
feet on the surface ; and then Mr. Sweeney hav-
ing laconically disposed of both body and soul
in a sentence it is unnecessary to transcribe, but
which restored thorough good humour amongst
the cowed and sullen assemblage, — the people
straggled off, leaving the constabulary officer
^^It was better to let them finish their
work/' he said to himself as he paced slowly
by the water's edge, looking after the retreating
rabble, ^'or we should have had the thing
tossing in and out with every tide. After all,
Mr. Brady," he went on, '4f straws do show
how the wind blows, I should not particularly
care to stand in your shoes to-day."
Of the scene which greeted his arrival in
Kingslough, Mr. Eiley wrote a vivid description
to his old friend Mrs. Hartley; nothing could
have pleased that lady better. She felt de-
lighted that his first letter from Woodbrook
should be one she could show Miss Moffat.
Handing it over to that young lady, she said,
'-'- Here is an Irish sketch drawn by a native.
It is certainly not complimentary to your
1 68 The EarPs Promise,
favourites. Eead the letter, it will amuse
But as Grace read, her face betokened any-
thing rather than amusement ; and when she
finished, she folded it up and remarked, —
^' I think Mr. Eiley's taste in writing that
letter open to question."
"You should try and excuse his want of
appreciation, Grace ; remember he has laboured
under the disadvantage of living many years
in another country and amongst other people."
"It is of very little consequence whether I
excuse him or not, I imagine, "replied Miss
Moffat. She had not yet seen this man returned
from foreign parts. Mrs. Hartley had been
visited by him in London, and reported that
he was much changed in every respect.
In what way this change exhibited itself,
Grace did not care to inquire. That he had
not come home to be at her beck and call,
she perfectly understood from Mrs. Hartley's
manner of saying, —
" He begged me to give his kind regards to
Miss Moffat if she had not quite forgotten an
Bad News. 169
rrom that day it was a noticeable thing,
Miss Moffat never spoke of him as John.
The old familiar name, retained almost nn-
conscionsly through years, was laid aside and
Mr. Eiley took its place. Of course, he could
know nothing of what she had done for him
and his. Hcfw she had offered her money to
save Woodbrook. How she had looked for-
ward to seeing him once again with a mingled
feeling of pleasure and pain, and it was right,
quite right, he should look upon and think of
her almost as a stranger.
''A lover never can be a friend," she
thought a little bitterly. ^* He never is able
to forget having been refused," which is not
perhaps so unnatural as Grace seemed inclined
And now came this letter ; ah ! the John
she remembered never would have written
such an one — never could, she might have
His proclivities had always of course been
towards Toryism, but he was not hard against
the people ; he knew their faults, but he loved
170 The EarPs Promise,
their virtues; and now the first day lie returned
lie could write an account of what he saw,
and turn the very sins of the Irish into
Further, he never once mentioned Nettie,
although it was her husband's effigy he beheld
borne along by the populace, and he said
little about Woodbrook and the state in which
he found affairs ; of Lucy's marriage the only
mention he made was a remark to the effect
that, following the traditions of the family,
she having no fortune had cast her lot with a
husband who had no fortune either.
Altogether Grace felt far from satisfied.
Mr. Eiley recently returned from India, and
John — dear old John of the happy days at
Bayview — were two very different persons. On
the whole Miss Moffat felt grateful to Lord
Ardmorne for arranging the "Woodbrook
mortgage without any great amount of help
'^It might have made it very awkward,"
she considered. '-'- He might have fancied it
necessary to be civil to me in consequence."
Bad News. 171
And this as matters ' stood, Mr. John Eiley
evidently did not imagine necessary.
At the end of his letter, he begged to send
his kind regards to Miss Moffat. That was all.
Xo sentence about Bayview, no reference to
the places both of them knew so well. To
Miss Moffat it was rather a new feeling
that of being left out in the cold, and she did
not like it.
Mr. Eiley 's letter, however, supplied her
with food for reflection besides that enume-
Hitherto Grace had merely known vaguely
that Mr. Erady was an undesirable acquaint-
ance, a man fond of driving hard bargains, of
overreaching his neighbours if he could ; a man
of whom his wife stood in dread, of whom the
world had nothing to tell which redounded to
his credit, but now all these sins and short-
comings wore italicized in her mind, and a
dread of some great evil befalling Nettie in
consequence of the information she had given
began to haunt her night and day.
She was totally in the power of this man
172 The EarPs Promise.
whom the people vilified; whose effigy they
had carried through the streets, and buried with
every act of contumely they could devise. She
was, though in her own country, friendless,
She had dared much in order to save those
who, though her own relatives, formerly dis-
carded her ; and this very courage and forget-
fulness of wrongs in a great extremity helped
to recommend Nettie more tenderly than
ever to her old friend.
What could she do to make matters better
for her ? Even in the solitude of her own cham-
ber, Grace blushed and winced to think all
she could offer any one was money ; but still
believing the day might come when Nettie
would need it, she sat down and wrote her a
long touching letter, saying how hurt she
felt to hear of some recent events just come to
her knowledge ; how she di^eaded lest evil
might arise out of past cii'cumstances, to which
she need not refer more particularly ; how
she begged and implored her if evil did arise to
come at once to England and the writer. In a
Bad Neim. 173
postscript Grace added that, lest she should at
any time want money on a sudden emergency,
she enclosed sufficient to meet whatever ex-
igency might arise.
This letter she enclosed in one to Mr. Han-
Ion, begging him to give it into the hands of
the person to whom it was addressed.
As she did so, Grace could not help smiling,
and yet sighing at the memory of her Pha-
risaism when first Nettie devised this mode
" Ah ! I did not know so much then as I do
now," thought Miss Moffat, speaking mentally,
as is the habit of young ladies of small ex-
perience and limited worldly knowledge, as if
she were about seventy years of age.
To this letter, after some delay, came an
Nettie returned the money. She dared not
keep it, she said, or she would have done so.
She should never have a moment's peace were
it in the house, lest it might be discovered.
Earnestly, though in few words, she thanked
Grace for all her kindness ; but " do not
174 '^^^^ EarPs Promise,
write to me again," she added, "it is too great
a risk to run. If ever you are able to help
me, I wiil let you know. I never can doubt
you or forget the pleasant days that may
come again no more for ever. If I never see
you in this world again, remember Gracie I
love you far, far, more at last than I did at the
first. I did not think I could cry, no matter
what came or went ; and yet still as I write
good-bye, the words are blotted with tears."
The days went on, and Mrs. Hartley and
Grace were planning an autumn tour, with a
half-formed intention of lengthening their
foreign travel by going on to Eome and
wintering in the Eternal City.
To Grace the idea was very pleasant. To
Mrs. Hartley the prospect, much as she valued
English luxuries and prized home comforts,
" I should not go unless you were with me,"
she said, however, to her visitor ; and Grace
pressed her hand in reply.
The two women were exactly suited to each
other. Mrs. Hartley's unvarying cheerfulness ;
Bad News. 175
her sound common sense ; her abundant
worldly knowledge; her stores of information; —
these things were very good for a young
woman like Grace, who was naturally some-
what dreamy and imaginative, and whose
experiences of society, of men and women, and
manners and morals, were, notwithstanding her
feeling that she had been living and learning
through centuries, had hitherto been limited
to an extremely small circle.
On the other hand, Grace was the very
person with whom to live happily. There were
no wills and musts in her nature ; she had no
ways of her own that she insisted upon other
people travelling ; she was amiable, generous,
frank, and gentle-mannered, and, to crown all
her other excellences, she was, as Mrs. Hartley
said, as good as a picture to look at.
To women whose day, if they ever had one,
is over, who have ceased to compete for those
prizes of love and admiration which all women
are anxious to secure, even though they may
not put themselves forward in the struggle,
there is something extremely pleasant in the
176 The EarPs Promise.
contemplation of a pretty face, and Grace's
face was grateful to Mrs. Hartley's critical eyes.
^^ I wonder what John would think of her
nowj" she often asked herself. ^^ "Would he
fear to make a second attempt to win her, or
dare I hope all may come right in the end.
She is the wife for him, he is the husband for
her, if they both can only be induced to think
so. I must contrive to get him to join us
somehow abroad," which was indeed the secret
reason for Mrs. Hartley's advocacy of the
foreign tour and her hesitation on the subject
''Eome is a long way off," she argued,
" but we shall see what we shall see ; time
enough to settle about where we shall winter
when the autumn comes."
Things as regards Grace were in this tran-
quil state, when one afternoon, while Mrs.
Hartley was out on a visiting expedition,
from which her guest had begged to be
excused. Miss Moffat, seated in a low chair
by the window of her own especial sanctum,
a small morning room which had been fitted
Bad A^ews. 177
up for and appropriated to her use, took
the ' Times ' that chanced to be lying close to
It was a warm day, one of those glorious
summer afternoons so frequent in England,
which are trying nevertheless to those born
and bred in a colder climate, and Grace, tired
and languid, let her eyes wander over the
sheet, reading nothing in particular, but cull-
ing a paragraph here and another there with
a sort of lazy and unexcited interest.
Suddenly, however, something met her
sight which riveted her attention; she
grasped the paper more firmly, she sat upright
instead of leaning back ; she pushed her hair
away from her face as though it oppressed her,
and then read the passage which had caught
her notice once again more carefully. This
was what it contained, —
" A shocking murder is reported as having
taken place in the north of Ireland, hitherto
comparatively free from the charge of agrarian
outrage. The victim is a Mr. Brady, a gentle-
man of some property, and connected by
VOL. III. N
j^S The EarVs Promise,
marriage with several families of ancient
lineage and high standing. The unfortunate
gentleman was discovered about a mile from
his own house quite dead, though still warm.
A dispute about some land is supposed to have
urged on his murderer. A man named Scott
has been taken into custody ; a stick with
which the fatal blow was dealt, and known to
have belonged to Scott, having been found
near the spot. The unfortunate gentleman
had not yet reached the prime of life. He
leaves a widow and several children to deplore
his untimely fate."
There are truths so terrible that the mind
at first absolutely refuses to accept them, and
like one in a dream with a stunned surprise,
Grace Moffat read and re-read the paragraph,
unable to realize its meaning.
Then suddenly the full horror of its state-
ment broke upon her. It had come, then, this
trouble, the prevision of which she now under-
stood she had felt that morning when she and
Mr. Hanlon walked over to the Castle Farm.
It had come at a moment when she was least
Bad Neii}s. 179
prepared for it, when her thoughts were far
distant from Ireland ; when, much as she loved
her own country, she was becoming reconciled
to the ways and manners of another country ;
when she was learning to like English people,
and beginning, as the young always can do, to
find an interest in the hopes, fears, and projects
of those with whom she was thrown.
How the next half-hour was passed Grace
never precisely knew. The servants, glad in
that orderly household of an excitement of any
kind, prepared and retailed many versions of
how MaiTables — Mrs. Hartley's highly re-
spectable butler, who had a presence like a
bishop and a face solemn and important as that
of a parish clerk — hearing the bell ring vio-
lently hurried to the morning-room, where he
found Miss Mofiat standing in the middle of
the apartment looking like death itself ; how
surprised out of his dignified deportment for
once, he said before he was spoken to, —
'-'- Gracious ! Miss, what has haj^pened, and
what is the matter ? "
To which she replied, — ^^ Get me something;.
i8o The EarPs Promise.
I have had a great shock." He fetched her
wine and the housemaid water, and the lady's
maid smelling-salts and eau-de-cologne and a
fan ; whilst the butler suggested the propriety
of sending at once for a doctor.
"No," said Miss Moffat authoritatively, "I
shall be better soon ;" and she sat down and
leaned back and shut her eyes, the trio re-
garding her with interest, not unmixed with
awe the while.
Then almost directly she opened her eyes,
and looking at them one after the other, re-
" It is not true, is it ? "
" No, Miss," answered Marrables promptly ;
his acquaintance with illness was slight, but
he had always heard sick people ought to be
" Ah ! I forgot," said Miss Moffat wearily.
" Pour me out some wine and water, Marrables,
I will take it now; and Taylor," turning ta
Mrs. Hartley's maid, " I wish you would pack
up some dresses and linen for me ; I must go
to Ireland to-night."
Bad News. i8i
" Yes, Miss."
'^ And directly Mrs. Hartley returns let me
^' Mrs. Hartley is here now," exclaimed
Marrables, and went out to meet his mistress,
followed reluctantly by his fellow-servants.
Into the room came Mrs. Hartley dressed
in all her bravery, with a face expressive of the
'-'• What is all this, Grace, that Marrables has
been frightening me with ? Why, child,
what has happened ? You look as if you had
seen a ghost."
For answer, Grace picked up the ^ Times '
and handed it to her friend, pointing out the
paragraph she wished her to read. Marrables
saw her do it, and it was not long before he
had read the passage also.
'' What are you thinking of doing?" asked
Mrs. Hartley, drawing her out into the open
air, and holding a parasol over her.
" I shall go to Ireland to-night," Grace
" For what purpose ?"
1 82 The Ec
" Chiefly to be with Nettie, partly to see if
anything can be done for Amos."
'-'' You think he is guilty."
^^ I do not see that there can be any doubt
of that. He must have been mad ; but I sup-
pose whether mad or not he will have to suffer
for it all the same."
Mrs. Hartley paused. She took in the po-
sition at once ; she knew Grace's temperament,
and she felt certain she would never rest con-
tent to remain inactive at such a juncture.
" Money can do a great deal," she remarked
at last, " and influence more ; and in any case
I know it will be a comfort hereafter for you
to think both were brought to bear on this
case. Yes, my love, I will not say a word to
dissuade you from your intention; I would
offer to go with you myself if I thought I
could be of any real assistance. Marrables shall
accompany you as far as Dublin — there Mr.
Mcholson can see to you. And, Grace, do not
fret about the matter more than you can pos-
sibly avoid. A loophole may be found for
Scott to creep through, and as for Nettie, I
Bad News. 183
fancy she will be far happier as a widow than
ever she was as a wife."
" Oh ! do not say that," Grace entreated.
'- ' It was almost the first idea which occurred to
me, and I hated myself for it."
'' Well, we Avill not say anything about it
then," . agreed Mrs. Hartley, '^although if
he has left her comfortably off — " but
here Miss Moffat stopped her ears and refused
to listen. She was recovering from the first
effect of the blow, but she could not bear to
hear the tragedy discussed in this matter-of-
fact, cool, business-like style.
Young people are occasionally somewhat
unreasonable. It jarred against Grace's sen-
sibilities to hear some two hours later the
dinner-bell ring just as though Mr. Brady
were not lying at Maryville stiff and cold,
and Amos Scott not in Kilcurragh Gaol
charged with his murder. Perhaps Mrs.
Hartley guessed something of this, for she
" [N'ow, Grace, unless you cat I shall not
allow you to go. Fasting may be all very
184 The EarPs Promise.
well in its way, and I dare say it is, but it is
not well when a young lady has a long journey
before her, and the prospect of a considerable
amount of work to follow."
Hearing which remark Mr. Marrables, who
waited upon the ladies with his accustomed
dignity, took especial care to fortify his
system with a thorough good meal, and to
provide against any casualties in the way of
starvation by packing up a goodly supply of
edibles, and laying the cellar likewise under
contribution to a moderate though judicious
After all, if the English are unimpulsive,
they are useful; if they are undemonstrative,
they are not heartless. Grace was forced to
admit both these facts when she discovered
everything she could possibly require packed up
without a question being asked on the subject ;
when she found her travelling-dress laid out for
her to don before dinner that she might not be
obliged to hurry from table ; when she saw the
carriage brought round to a second, and 'beheld
Marrables, after he had shut her and Mrs.
Bad News. i8s
Hartley within, mount on the box beside the
coachman with no more fuss than if he were
merely going to attend his mistress to the
station ; when she heard Mrs. Hartley, who, as
a rule, did not like shortening her meals,
^^Now, my dear, I think it is time we
were putting on our bonnets," and go off to
prepare for a twelve miles' drive as if it
were in the ordinary course of things for
an elderly lady to consider her own ease so
These things all impressed Grace sensibly,
as did one other little trifle. At the last
moment it was discovered that by some over-
sight Miss Moffat's warm shawl had been left
^^ Fetch my cloak out of the brougham,"
said Mrs. Hartley immediately, and, spite of
her guest's remonstrances, she insisted on
Grace taking it with her.
^^ Such magnificence!" exclaimed Miss
Moffat, looking at the fur lining and the
1 86 The EarPs Prouiise,
'' Nonsense ; it is old and worn, and shabby,
but it "will keep you warm. Good-bye now,
my child — come back to mc safe and sound
— God bless you ! " And the train was
GRACE VISITS INLIRYVILLE.
With much the same feeling as a Gipsy, who
has been compelled to live for a time amongst
the house -dwellers, returns to the camp on
the common, to the savoury supper furnished
gratuitously from his nearest neighbour's
farmyard, to the bed on the green-sward, with
heaven for a canopy and ferns for his pillow, so
Grace, after a not disagreeable or uninstructivo
sojourn in the foreign land of England, beheld
once more the fair shores and heard the
familiar accents of her own country.
Home, after all, is home be it ever so homely ;
and the tones and the voices familiar to child-
The EarPs Promise.
hood sound sweet after absence, let those
tones and voices lack refinement though they
Grace had outgrown her prejudice against
the English as affected. She had learned that
their accent was as genuine and natural as
the rougher tongue of her native land; but
still just as a Londoner, coming south from the
Land o' Cakes, thanks God when he reaches
Carlisle to hear again something approaching
a civilized language, so her heart warmed
at sound of the familiar intonation. She was
home again; she was amongst her own country
people ; she was no longer lost in the great
country of England ; she was a person of im-
portance once more; she had ceased to be a
princess in disguise, — back in the old familiar
places, she was Miss Moffat of Eayview
From the moment she set foot in Dublin, she
recognized that fact ; and once for all I may as
well state, it was pleasant to her. She had
been but one of many in England ; she was a
person of importance in Ireland. She had
Grace Visits Maryville, 189
learned much near the head-quarters of ciyili-
sation, but she had not learned to be in-
different to the prestige given by wealth and
rank and being well known by repute even
beyond her county.
These weaknesses, which add so much to
happiness, but which usually develope them-
selves later in life, were with Grace an in-
tegral part of her nature. She was of the
soil ; she was Irish and she loved everything
Irish. There might be things in the country
she could wish improved, but still the place
was home to her. And Grace's heart swelled
and her eyes filled with tears as she heard the
brogue floating around her, and those per-
suasive tones which in Dublin always seem
addressed only to one person, and that the
listener, fell upon her ear.
Dirty, picturesque, polite, plausible, un-
successful, they were her countrymen and
countrywomen ; and for a moment, Grace, in
the excitement of her return, forgot the errand
which had brought her back, and said to
Mr. Nicholson in an access of enthusiasm, —
IQO The EarPs Promise,
'' How deliglitful all this is after England ! "
'^ It is very kind of you to say so, Miss
Moifat," lie replied. '^ For my part, I think
London is the only place worth living in on
'' Oh ! fie," exclaimed Grace, ^^ and you an
Irishman ! "
'^ It is precisely because I am an Irishman
that I say so," was the reply. ^' I have met
with many English people who believe they
should like always to reside in Dublin."
^' I never have," and Grace sighed when she
thought of Mrs. Hartley's openly expressed
Ere long, however, her enthusiasm toned
down. She had not reached Mr. Nicholson's
house before her thoughts were busy with the
matter which had brought her to Ireland.
Across the breakfast- table she talked to her
companion about Amos Scott, and how it would
fare with him.
^' I fear badly," said that gentleman, who
had heard all about the farmer during the
time he spent at Bay view, and read the reports
Grace Visits Maryville, 191
tliat followed after the murder, in the papers.
^^ Everything seems against him. His animus
was no secret, and his stick was found beside
the dead man."
^^Poor Amos," ejaculated Grace. '^ His
wrongs have driven him mad."
^'Neither wrongs nor madness will reconcile
a north of Ireland jury to knocking a man
over in the dark," said Mr. Nicholson senten-
tiously. ^'His chance might have been better
in the south or west."
'-'- What do you think they will do to him ? "
asked Miss Moffat anx:iously.
Mr. Nicholson paused for a moment, then
he said, —
*^I am afraid it will go against him, and if
it does, unless he have powerful friends — "
^^ Oh ! " she cried, '•^ there is not one in all
that part of the country but would speak for
him. Every one knows how sorely he has
been tried. Every one's sympathy must be
with him — "
^^ Surely, Miss Moffat, your sympathies are
not with him ? " interposed Mr. Nicholson
192 The EarPs Promise.
gravely. ^' Let Mr. Brady be what he might,
his right to the land was "undoubted. A man is
not to be murdered because he asks for his
Having made which remark much in the in-
terest of the servant, who, as is usual in Ire-
land, had both ears laid back to listen to the
conversation of his betters, the lawyer re-
lapsed into silence, leaving Grace to cogitate
at her leisure over the plain truth contained
in his sentence.
Her sympathies were with Amos Scott, but
her common sense told her a man ought to be
able to insist on having his own without pay-
ing for his temerity by his life.
Once again she was at sea, as every person
is sooner or later who embarks on the study
of Irish difficulties. ^^ There was something
rotten in the state of Denmark " she had long
known. Dimly she was beginning to compre-
hend part of the rottenness lay in public feel-
ing, popular prejudice, in that crass ignorance
born of Eomish supremacy, and nursed by
self-asserting Dissent, till it might have puzzled
Grace Visits Maryville, 193
a wiser than Solomon to say whether
Catholic or Protestant were the most intract-
able — whether the senseless obedience of the
south to its priests were worse than the bigoted
intolerance of the north to every created being
which differed in opinion from itself.
Every great virtue throws a shadow — the
loftier the virtue the longer the shadow. Grace
understood, who better? — the virtues of her
hardworking, uncomplaining, patient, stubborn
northern compatriots; but the dark shadows
she had seen likewise ; she was beginning to
understand that the natives of no land are
perfect, that God has conferred no more special
patent of immunity from the taint of original
sin on the poor than on the rich.
Though an enthusiastic, Grace was a
thoughtful woman — a conjunction in one so
quietly brought up, not merely possible, but
probable, and the problem of humanity, which
sooner or later troubles every one brought into
contact with it, began to perplex her the first
hour she again set foot in Ireland.
The same trouble which beset her is vexing
194 'I^h^ EarVs Promise.
English pliilantliropists at the present day.
Even in happy England there is a cancer ; who
shall adventure to cut it out? there is a worm at
the root ; who shall dare turn up the ground,
and show where it is ? There are doctors who
would palliate — there are men who would de-
stroy the upper branches — who would prune
and cut and lop and top the trees ; but there
are none, unless, indeed, it may be a few brave
souls, who have wisdom enough and courage
sufficient to turn round and tell the lower
classes, — " The disease is in yourselves. "We
cannot cure it unless you will consent to help
yourselves. You may lop and top for ever —
you may cut down an ancient aristocracy, and
try to dignify a mushroom nobility of your
own creation, but your labour will be for
nought, and your trouble loss utterly without
gain, for wherever the evil may have begun
it is with you it now lies. The rank and file
of the social army are utterly demoralised.
Each man wants to command. No man is
willing to obey. The spirit of discontent is
abroad. Work has become distasteful ; in that
Grace Visits Maryville, 195
state of life in which God has placed him. no
human being seems satisfied to stay."
In one respect the fault of the Irish has
always been that of resting satisfied too easily,
and this idea was an integral part of Grace's
faith. At the same time she, being at once
clear-sighted and critical, could not avoid
seeing her country people were satisfied easily,
or indeed at all, only when the satisfaction
was given in the way that pleased them ; that
is to say, a dinner of fish, under certain con-
ditions, was not objectionable, but a dinner,
even off a stalled ox, unless it happened to be
served exactly as they thought well, or in the
place they saw fit to eat it, would not have
met with their approval.
Had she not herself offered to Amos Scott
the choice of farms as fertile, homesteads as
substantial as that he could hope to hold no
longer ; and had he not refused her kindness
almost with scorn. He said he would have the
familiar acres or none. He would have the homo
rendered dear by the mere passage of time, by
the events which had taken place within its
196 The EarPs Promise.
walls, or else a dry ditch and the stars of heaven
shining down on him and his. He would law
and law and law until his last shilling was
gone, in feeing men who could never put his
wrong right on this earth ; he would fight every
inch of the ground only to be beaten at last ;
he said all this — what had come of it ?
That he was lying in gaol, waiting his trial
for murder ; that, likely as not, he would walk
out some morning on the scaffold — his grey
hair floating in the wind— to end years of suf-
fering, to expiate years of folly with his life.
Her sympathies were with him. How would
it fare with the wrong-doers, if no one had
compassion for those who err ? If she could
help him, if she could save him, she would.
To Mrs. Hartley she had said, and said as she
believed truly, she must return to Ireland chiefly
for Nettie's sake. Now she was in Ireland, Grace
could not conceal from herself the fact that she
had come home as much in the interests of the
accused as in those of Mr. Brady's widow.
"Poor Amos," she thought, "the gentry
will be all against him. They will forget
Grace Visits Maryville, 197
what he suffered. They will remember only
IsTotwithstanding Mrs. Nicholson's entreaties,
Grace made no longer stay in Dublin than it
was possible to avoid. She longed to be in the
north. It seemed to her she was needed
there, and Mr. Nicholson, having been so for-
tunate as to find an acquaintance who was pro-
ceeding as far as Kilcurragh, put the heiress
in his charge, and, it may as well be confessed
with some misgivings as to how Grace would
comport herself in so critical a position, saw
^^ If you want my help," he said, and he
felt quite certain she would, " I will come at
an hour's notice."
Yery gratefully she gave him her hand, and
thanked him with one of her rare and wonder-
^' A woman, if she had been portionless, to
have driven a man to distraction," considered
Mr. Nicholson, and he was right. An heiress
is never so truly a woman as other women.
Gold clothes her as with a garment, and it is
198 The EarPs Promise,
a somewhat stiff robe in which to take her
Decidedly Grace would have been a more
charming, even though a much less useful
woman, had her face alone been her fortune.
As matters stood, however, she made friends
so successfully with the elderly gentleman
who was her travelling companion, that by the
time they arrived at their journey's end, he
was sufficiently interested in Amos Scott to
assist her in finding his solicitor, who chanced
to be a gentleman famous for making the best
of bad cases — for getting off notorious vaga-
bonds, for taking advantage of legal quibbles,
and saving men's money and lives by the
splitting of a legal straw.
"We are all friends here, I suppose," he
said looking doubtfully at Grace's companion,
whilst he stripped the feathers off a pen. ''I
may speak confidentially ? "
"Most decidedly," Grace answered.
"I can do nothing for him," he remarked.
" He will not trust me."
" How do you mean ? " she asked.
Grace visits Maryville, 199
^^He says lie is innocent. What can any
human being do in the face of such an asser-
tion ? "
For a minute or two Grace sat silent. The
idea was as new to her as obnoxious to Scott's
lawyer. Hitherto it had never occurred to
her that he would deny his guilt ; but now —
something — not born of reason or conviction,
but a subtle instinct, prompted her to answer,
^^If Amos Scott says he is innocent, you
may believe him. I have known him since I
was a child. At such a juncture he would not
tell a lie."
The lawyer smiled.
^^ Believe me. Miss Moffat," he said, ^'the
prospect of a halter has a wonderfully deter-
rent influence on the candour of most people."
^^ Perhaps," she replied; "but he would
tell me the truth."
"Will you see him?" asked the other
" And report the result of your interview
to me ? " he continued.
200 The EarPs P>
Only for an instant she hesitated, then she
^^ Word for word as far as I can recollect;
what he says you shall hear."
^^Then I may save him," he continued.
^^ If money — " began Grace, but he stopped
^'I am not indifferent to money," was the
reply, ^'but I never work for it alone. A
thousand pounds paid down could never
quicken my intellect as much as a perfect
knowledge of a case. With Scott I am utterly
at sea. He will not confide in me, and I do
not know what to do for him. And the
Assizes are close at hand, that is the worst of
''I shall see you again before the week is
out," said Grace. '^Meantime — " and she
laid some notes on the table, which the laT^yer
folded up and handed to her once again.
'^ Money could do no more than I have tried
to accomplish," he remarked. ''When it is
all over pay me if you will."
''Upon the whole, Miss Moffat," criticized
Grace Visits Maryville, 201
her travelling companion, ^^it seems to me the
rogues have the best of it in this life. No
honest man could find a lawyer like that,"
which is no doubt true. Perhaps it is part of
the Eternal Justice to leave one world in which
the rogues and the thieves and the plausible
soft-spoken vagabonds have the best of it.
Spite of all the clergy tell us I am afraid,
notwithstanding the hard lines many ragamuffins
meet with, the paradise of sinners is earth.
Straight from Kilcurragh to Mary ville drove
Grace. Her traA^elling companion saw her and
her slender luggage safely bestowed on the
outside car, by which vehicle she elected to
travel, and then made his farewell.
"Good-bye, Miss Mofi'at," he said; '^ shall
watch the progress of the case with interest
'^ He will tell the truth to me," she answered.
And strong in this faith, she started on the long
drive which lay before her.
Anxious to avoid Kingslough, and for a
short time, at least, all contact with its inhabi-
tants, she told the man to take a road lying a
202 The EarPs Ps
little inland which would, she knew, bring her
out near the gates of Maryville.
It was a lovely evening, the sea lay like a
mirror under the clear blue sky, the woods in
the distance stood dark and green, mellowed by
flushes of sunlight, that stole over them warm
and bright ; up and down the hillsides crept
waving shadows and patches of golden light ;
the white cabins, nestling among fields where
the wheat was already in the ear, looked as if
they had every one been freshly whitewashed.
Over the calm home landscape Grace gazed,
tears dropping down in her heart the while ;
whilst her eyes gathered the peace and the
loveliness of the familiar scene, her thoughts
were concentrated on a grave in Kingslough
churchyard. Life seemed to have begun for her
in earnest at her father's death. Strangers dwelt
under the remembered rooftree. To no hearth
could she now creep close feeling it all her
own. For others welcomes might sound, for
others smiles might be wreathed, eyes brighten,
tones grow softer, but for her with neither kith
nor kin who cared that she was returning a
Grace Visits Maryville. 203
lonely woman to comfort one almost as desolate
By the time she reached Maryville the sun
had set, and the gloom of the dark avenue
seemed to fall heavily upon her as they drove
.over \kQ soft gravel, still wet from heavy rain
which had fallen in the morning.
There was not a soul stirring about the
place. At the lodge no one appeared, and the
driver had to open the gates for himself. As
they neared the house, it seemed like a building
Not a dog's bark broke the stillness, not a
sound came through the evening air to prove
that life was near at hand.
The man laid that day in his grave was no
quieter than the place of which he had so
lately been master. Through the hall the
noise of Grace's knock echoed drearily. No
city of the dead was ever more silent than
Maryville on the first occasion that Miss
!Moffat set foot within its precincts.
Standing looking over the deserted la^vn,
Grace after a few moments heard the sound of
204 The EarPs Promise,
footsteps coining apparently from some remote
distance in the house. Across a stone passage,
then along a wide corridor, then over the hall
paved with black and white marble came that
steady heavy tread. Next instant the door
was opened sufficiently to admit of a head
being thrust out to see who the intruder
might be; a head, covered with luxuriant
black hair, belonging to a woman from whose
appearance Grace instinctively recoiled.
At sight of the visitor this woman opened
the door a little wider, affording Miss Moffat
a full view of a female of about seven or eight
and twenty, tall, erect, bold.
Evidently she had been crying, but the
traces of tears failed to soften the hard defiance
of her dark eyes, or the tone in which she
asked Grace what she was " pleased to
want ? "
^^ Is Mrs. Brady within ? " inquired the
'' She is," was the reply, uttered in an
accent and with a manner as uncompromising
as a north wind.
Grace Visits Maryvilie. 205
'' Can I see her ? "
"It is not likely you can. Maybe you are
a stranger, and have not heard what has
"It is because I have heard," Grace
answered, "that I am here. Be so good as to
tell Mrs. Brady — "
""Who is it, Susan?" called out a weak,
querulous voice at this juncture. " !N'o matter
who it is, tell them I am in trouble and can
see no one — remember that — no one ! "
" Not even Grace," answered her old friend.
" Oh, ^N'ettie ! I have travelled all the way
from England to be with you. Let me come
in and speak to you : let me stay — "
Before she had finished her sentence Mrs.
Brady had crossed the hall and flung the door
" Grace ! Grace ! " she cried.
That was all. In a wordless agony she
clung about jthe new-comer. She twined her
arms around her, she laid her head on her
shoulder, but she never cried nor sobbed. The
years fraught with agony inconceivable, seemed
to have taken the power of weeping from her.
2o6 The EarPs Promise,
^^ This is the first time she has come out of
her room since — " began she of the black hair
in explanation, but Mrs. Brady stopped her.
^' Don't ! " she said in that faint irritable
voice, which spoke volumes to Grace of the
sufferings she had endured. ^' I cannot bear to
talk," she went on addressing her friend.
^^If you stay, if you really want to stay, you
must never speak to me of it or him. Will
you promise ? "
^^I never will unless you wish me to do so,"
Grace answered readily, scarcely realizing how
difficult she might find it to keep her word.
'^ Where will I put the portmantle ? "
inquired the car- driver, breaking across the
conversation with an abruptness which one at
least of the trio felt to be a relief.
It was almost dark inside the house — so
dark that Grace, unable to see the contents of
her purse, stepped out into the twilight to pay
" Can I get a drop of water for my horse,
Miss ? " he asked as she counted the money
into his hands, and turning she repeated the
Grace Visits Maryville, 207
question to the servant wlio stood in the door-
^^Not here," answered the woman. ^^The
men are gone, and the dogs are loose. There
is a stream crosses the road less than a mile
up it ; the beast can drink his fill there.''
Never before — never in the whole of her
life had Grace heard so inhospitable a sentence
uttered. Involuntarily it caused her to double
the amount of the man's own gratuity, and to
say to him in a low voice, —
^^ They are in great distress of mind here ;
perhaps you know."
^^Yes, Miss, I know," was the reply; but
Grace felt there was no sympathy in his tone,
and she turned to re-enter the house with a
conviction that even the circumstances of Mr.
Brady's death had failed to awaken popular
sympathy in his behalf.
'^ Where is Mrs. Brady?" she asked, peer-
ing through the twilight in search of !N"ettiey
who was, however, nowhere visible.
" She's gone back to her room ; if you want
her, you'll have to go there after her. She
2o8 The EarPs P.
has never come down till to-night. She has
not been to say quite right in her head ever
'^ Perhaps she would rather be alone ? "
^'I don't think it will make any differ one
way or the other," was the somewhat con-
temptuous answer which decided Grace on at
once making her way to Nettie.
^^ "Which is her room ? " she inquired.
''Eight opposite you when you get to the
head of the stairs ; " and thus directed, Grace
without ceremony crossed the hall, ascended
the staircase, and joined her friend.
She found Nettie pacing the apartment with
slow, measured steps. Up and down, down and
up, she marched like some animal on a chain,
hopelessly, helplessly, wearily. Suddenly she
stopped in this exercise.
" You ought not to stay here, Grace. I am
no company for anybody now."
''If I had wanted company I should have
stayed where I was," Grace answered. "I
came here to see if I coidd not be of use to
you, and I shall remain till I am quite satisfied
I cannot be of any ! "
Grace Visits Maryville, iq()
'^!^o one can help me," said Nettie delibe-
rately. Then finding Grace kept silence, she
went on hurriedly to ask, —
'-'' "What are you thinking of ? "
^^Iwas thinking, dear — " the words came
softly through the darkness — '^ that God in
His own good time will help you."
^' He cannot." was the reply, spoken sharply
'^ We shall see," and Grace sat down by one
of the windows, while Nettie resumed her pur-
poseless walk, backwards and forwards, forwards
and backwards enough to drive a bystander to
After a time the door opened.
^*I have made you some tea, mem. Will
you come down or will I bring it up to you ? "
Nettie never answered. Neither by sign
nor token did she give evidence of having
heard a word.
'^I will come down," said Grace after a
moment's pause, sufficient to permit Mrs.
Brady to reply if she would. '-'' Should you
not like a light, Nettie ? " she asked with a
VOL. III. p
2IO Tlie EarPs Promise,
natural hesitation about making such a sugges-
tion in another person's house.
^^I hate light," was the answer.
"How long has she been like that?"
whispered Miss Moffat as the door closed
between her and the blue-eyed, golden-haired
Nettie of the long-ago past."
"Ever since that night; except cold water,
3he has not had bite or sup in her lips for the
last five days."
" Where are the children ? "
" I asked some of the neighbours to take
them till — till — it was all over."
There was an instant's break in her voice.
Next minute it was cold and hard and ringing
In the small ante-room where Mr. Brady
had received the Eileys, Grace found tea pre-
pared, and she sat down to it with what
appetite she might.
She had been delicately nurtured, and the
cup of coarse blue delft, the dark brown sugar,
the battered tray, the black-handled knife, the
smoked teapot, repelled her the moment she
set eyes on the repast.
Grace Visits Maryville. 211
But she forced herself to eat. She had come
to be useful, and she was determined to let no
fastidious niceties cumber her at first starting.
Her greatest trial was the woman, who after a
grudging fashion strove to make her welcome.
Grace's experience had never previously brought
her even mentally in contact with a person of
the kind, but her instinct told her there was
something wrong about dark eyes and darker
hair ; that if everything were right she and
!N'ettie ought not to be under the same roof,
with a person against whom every nerve seemed
to be at war, whose very presence was a trial,
whose interest in the late master of Maryville
had evidently been very close and very great.
By the light of the solitary candle with which
her banquet-table was illumined, Grace, quick
as is the nature of her sex, took in the personal
appearance and attire of the solitary domestic
Maryville seemed to boast.
Not an ill-looking woman ; but hard, bold,
bad— bad decidedly — one with whom wicked-
ness had not prospered. Grace looked at her
poor brown-stuff gown, scanty and ill-fitting,
212 The EarPs Promise,
but covering a magnificent figure ; at the poor
attempt at mourning made in a little black
neckerchief drawn round her throat and pinned
in front of the half-high dress ; at her hands
red and hard with work, to grasp, dimly it
might be but sufficiently, the fact sin had not
paid this creature high wages for the loss of all
women hold dear.
The man was dead. She had wanted to ask
many questions, but with this idea before her
and others looming behind, Grace could ask no
question of her companion, who, comprehending
that without a word of explanation the other
knew her position, hardened herself and decided
she would make this stranger's stay unpleasant
if she could.
Understanding this in a vague uncertain
fashion, Grace said, —
^'I suppose you do not know who I am,
Mrs. Brady and I are old friends, and 1 have
come from England to be with her in this
affliction. I used to live near Kingslough ;
my father was Mr. Mofi'at of Bay view."
^^I have heard tell of you both," was the
Grace Visits Mary vi lie. 213
reply sullenly spoken. "You'll have come
over to help Amos Scott as well as to see Mrs.
Brady, I'm thinking."
To which speech Miss Moffat deemed it
prudent to make no reply.
A RAY OF LIGHT.
Not all Grace's persuasions could induce Mrs.
Brady on the following morning to touch any
breakfast. By special request Miss Moffat had
been permitted to pass the night in a dressing-
room opening into Nettie's apartment, and
until overpowered by weariness she fell into a
broken sleep, she heard the widow tossing from
side to side, moaning now and then, at inter-
vals breathing many sighs, but weeping never.
With her own hands Miss Moffat made her
a tiny morsel of toast, and took that and a cup
of tea to her bedside ; but Nettie refused to
eat, not querulously or with any effusion of
A Ray of Light, 215
manner, but with a settled determination diffi-
cult to hope to sway.
Nevertheless, her Mend thought she would
try. '^Dear ISTettie," she said, '^you ought to
"I cannot; it would choke me," was the
'^I am afraid you will bring on an illness."
'-^ Oh ! if I could only die," and she buried
her face in the pillow.
Grace went downstairs again.
As has been already stated her knowledge of
mortal, physical, or deep mental sickness was
not large ; and if her knowledge of the latter
had been, she might well have felt puzzled
how to deal with Nettie.
After her breakfast she sat down for a few
minutes to think, and whilst she was deep in
meditation Susan entered.
'' The mistress would take nothing, then,"
she remarked, looking at the tray Grace had
carried all unavailingly to Mrs. Brady.
^^ I thought you wouldn't get her to cat. I
2i6 The EarPs Promise.
have tried her hard enough, I can tell you.
You don't seem to have been hungry yourself,"
she went on, glancing at the dish of bacon
swimming in grease and the new-laid eggs
that, poached in fat, floated in company with
the unsavoury-looking slices.
'' I was not," answered Miss Moffat.
'^ It is not a heartsome place to come to,
you're thinking, likely," suggested the woman.
'^ I was thinking what I could do for Mrs.
Erady," Grace replied. ^'She ought to have
something. Is there any wine in the house ?"
^^ There is whisky," was the answer.
Grace groaned mentally. ^' I wonder if she
would take a little milk," she said audibly.
" You can try. Will I bring you some ? "
There was a secret triumph in the tone, as
though she suspected the attempt would prove
futile. And she was right. IN'ettie would
have nothing but water. Of that she drank
"I am parched," she said in answer to
Grace's remonstrances. ^' My lips arc so dry
they bleed ; " and as she removed her hand-
A Ray of Light. 217
kercliief from them, Grace saw it was stained
with crimson spots.
What would Grace not have given for Mrs.
Hartley's counsel ? Good women, and kind
and true, lived at Kingslough, but somehow
she felt at that juncture Mrs. Hartley's hard
worldly sense would prove more useful than
all the well-meant sympathy amiable but in-
€ompetent people could offer.
Besides, IN'ettie herself would have none of
Xingslough, either in the way of pity or help.
All the morning Maryville was besieged
with callers, notes, cards, and inquiries.
^^ They can come now," said IS'ettie bitterly,
as she watched car and carriage and messenger
depart unsatisfied. ^^ They think I can go
back and take the old up where I left off
that morniDg. They do not know; how
should they ? "
Dinner-time arrived. With a bang, Susan
set down on one side of the table at the other
side of which Grace sat ^vriting, a dish of
potatoes piled high and another of herrings
floating in a fresh sea of grease.
2i8 The EarVs Promise,
'' Maybe it's not good enough for yon," said
the woman, with a sneer, '' but it's all there is
in the lionse."
^^ You mistake," said Grace ; *^ it is quite
good enough for me, but I do not think it is
anything like good enough for Mrs. Brady."
And she took her place at table whilst Susan
flounced out of the room only to turn back and
inquire whether she would ^^ be plazed to
drink water or milk."
Had she followed Mrs. Hartley's instructions
Grace would have said water. As it was, the
national partiality for milk common to the
Irish ladies at that period, and which perhaps
with the moist climate had share in their
lovely complexions, extinguished all English
lights, and so she chose the latter, thereby
mollifying Susan, who thought ^' she might
not be so stuck-up after all, maybe."
Of potatoes and milk Grace made her meal
with relish, it must be confessed, and spite of
her sorrow. The potatoes were capital, the milk
rich. The herrings she could not fancy, the
lake of slowly congealing fat in which they
A Ray of Light. 219
reposed effectually warned her from them.
While she ate she thought, ^' Let Susan be
what she would, or perhaps would not, she,
Miss Moffat, could not put that wrong right if
she kept her at arms' length for ever. On the
whole, had she not better try to conciliate this
woman, who, spite of her position, seemed
friendly to Nettie? ^'Perhaps," thought
Grace, '•^ because she knows if this door closes
behind her, none other would open to receive
There were not many women who dared
even think of adopting a conciliatory policy
nnder such circumstances ; but in many ways
Grace's position was exceptional.
After all, what is the good of virtue if it be
not sufficiently certain of its own standing to
walk just once and away on the same side of
the road with vice, and refrain from drawing-
its skirts decorously around it ?
Grace's virtue, at all events, was made of
sufficiently strong stuff to risk all the results
of such a companionship. She hated the sin
she felt had been done, as probably those to
2 20 The EarPs Promise.
whom the nature of sin is almost a mystery-
alone are able — with an abhorrence, a detesta-
tion, a contempt, a loathing, akin to the feel-
ings with which a man Avho had bathed
from his earliest youth might look upon a
disease produced by filth, and the lack of all
ordinary physical cleanliness ; but — black tan-
gled hair, unkempt, unbraided, bold eyes, in-
solence, brazen defiance notwithstanding — she
was sorry for the sinner.
Where vice flaunts past dressed in the latest
fashion, driving a lovely pair of ponies, assum-
ing the most recent fashionable manner whether
that manner be modest or forward, we may
call it picturesque, and forget, if we choose,
the ghastly death's head lurking beneath the
rouge and paint and powder plastered on the
face of Sin's last successful child ; but when
we come to see some of Sin's despised daugh-
ters, some of those who have been cut off by
their unjust parent with less even than the
traditional shilling, I think the observer must
be less than man or woman — more fiend than
either can prove on occasion — who shall fail to
A Ray of Light. 221
consider for -^liat inconceivably small wages
the devil gets immortal souls to work his
If his employes would strike, what an in-
voluntary lock-out from Hell here and Hell
hereafter the world should witness !
^^ Susan," began Miss Moffat, as the hand-
maiden having piled plate and vegetable dish
on the top of the herrings, was about to
remove the dinner appointments on the ex-
temporised tray, — ^'do not you think Mrs.
Brady ought to see a doctor ? "
'-'- 1 think it's time she saw somebody,"
'-'- Would not it be well to send one of the
men with a note to Mr. Hanlon, asking him to
call ? "
^' It's no use," answered Susan shaking her
head. " Mr. Hanlon he came u]d the day of the
inquest; he had to come, and after the crowner
was gone he wanted to see mistress. In coui'se,
I asked him to step in here and told her, and
you'd have thought she'd have taken my head
off. I was glad enough to get out of the room.
The EarPs Promise,
I •would not like to be the one who should
tell her Mr. Hanlon was here again."
"Why, I thought she always liked him,"
said Grace fairly puzzled.
" I can't say for that, it was hard to tell
who Mrs. Brady liked or did not like — she
is a mighty secret woman in her ways, but
the master hated him and forbid him the
house. Most like she minds all that."
" Poor Nettie, how fond she must have
been of him after all ! " murmured Grace,
speaking her thoughts out loud.
" Fond of the master, is it you mean ! " asked
Susan. '' Fond of him ; that she wasn't, that
she could not be, I'll take my Bible oath.
Why, Miss — " and in her energy she banged
the herrings and superstructure on the table
again — '^he treated her worse nor a slave. If
it had not been for the children, she'd have
gone over and over and over again. I have
seea it in her face when she has been sitting
beside the fire, thinking, thinking ; or when
maybe she has left the room after giving him
one look. He's gone and there's no need for
A Ray of Light, 223
us to send the bad word after liim; but no
black negro ever had a worse time of it than
the woman that's now a widow ; and whatever
she is fretting about — and if I was you Miss,
I would not trouble my head concerning
that matter — it is not her murdered husband."
"I am afraid you are not fond of Mrs
Erady," suggested Grace. Perhaps the exact
speech the unities might have suggested at
such a crisis would not have been composed of
the same or even similar words, but certainly
an astute lawyer or a clever worldly woman
would have put just the same question.
" An' saving your presence, Miss, who
could be fond of her?" inquired. Susan. ^^ She's
secret as the grave He might beat or starve
or blackguard her as he liked, and she
answered never a v/ord. !N'ever to one did she
come for pity or help. I have heard them say
Miss, old women, not like me, that over and
over again they wanted to talk with her about
her trouble, and she put them back. She
was that proud Miss, flesh and blood could not
224 The EarPs Proinise.
" Proud," Grace repeated, and she looked
at the room, she glanced at the table.
'^Ay, just proud," was the answer; ^^ folks are
often as proud of the things they want ta
have as of those they have got, and if they can't
get all they want they turn sulky, just — ^just
as she did," finished Susan, and without leav-
ing Grace time for a reply, she took up the
herring- dish and its belongings and dis-
When an hour afterwards she returned
to claim the table-cloth, Miss Moffat had
Over the fields she was gone to visit Mrs.
Scott. !N"ow making her way across a meadow
where, as is the Irish fashion, the hay had
been gathered into about twenty small stacks,
hay ropes binding the grass together; now tread-
ing lightly between potatoe rigs, now skirting
a field of oats or barley, she came at length by
a different route to any she had heretofore
traversed to the homestead of the Castle Farm.
Straight into the kitchen Grace walked.
Upstairs she heard the sound of movement
A Ray of Light, 225
and voices, and upstairs after knocking vainly
on the dresser she proceeded.
A stifled shriek was the first sound which
greeted her, the next was, —
"Miss Grace, go down again into the open
air. And may God Himself preserve you from
all evil. We have got the faver."
Sound of dread in Ireland ! If there be a
cowardly spot in the nature of Irish men and
women even at the present day, it is their
blind, unreasoning dread of infection.
Eeared amongst those who held this horror,
Grace at sound of Mrs. Scott's news in-
voluntarily drew back. ^ext instant she
stood by Eeuben's bedside.
The lad was dying. Even her inexperience
grasped that; and falling on her knees and
burying her face in the coverlet, she wept
tears she had been longing to shed ever
since she entered Maryville.
" Miss Grace," it was the mother who spoke
and touched her, " ye can't save him. Why
should ye kill yourself?"
VOL. III. Q
226 TJie EarVs Promise.
"And you?" asked Grace, looking at
mother and friend.
"We are in the hands of God," was
" So am I," said Miss Moffat, and took the
lad's white fingers in her own.
"Who is attending him," she asked.
"Mr. Hanlon — who but him? He had a
right to do all he could for us ; and I'll say
that, in his benefit, he has done it.
"Why was it his right?" asked Grace,
ignoring all the rest of the sentence save that
which jarred on her ear.
" Because him, and men like him, made the
good man what — what — There, God help us,
Miss Grace ! Go away or you'll be hearing me
raving worse than my poor lad did when first
he lay bad, and likely be taken yourself."
" I am not afraid," said Grace, but she
moved towards the door as she spoke. "Mrs.
Scott, I shall see Amos to-morrow I hope ;
what am I to tell him ? "
"Tell him what you've seen, Miss
A Ray of Light, ii'j
" And what else ? " asked her visitor.
^' I don't just understand. Oh! yes, I do.
Downstairs if you please, Miss. I'll follow
In the sunlight Grace waited for her to
come down, and involuntarily as she looked at
the flood of golden light in which the land-
scape was steeped, she coukl not help thinking
that as the rain falleth on the just and the
unjust, so the sun shines on the happy and
Whilst she was vainly trying to solve this
great problem of nature's lack of sympathy,
Mrs. Scott joined her, keeping at a respectful
'^I know what you mean, Miss Grace,"
began the woman, who had grown old suddenly ;
^' but, between you and me and him, it's no
use talking of innocency if the other thing be
guiltiness. He did it, and if I had been in
his place, I'd ha' done it myself."
These people — neither the man nor the
woman — nor men nor women lil^e them, were
likely to take refuge in falsehood, and convic-
228 The EarPs Promise,
tion entered Grace's heart at that moment.
If Amos had sinned, he would have told how
it all came about ere now. Had his been the
hands that struck his enemy down, he would
have waited for no warrant but given himself
up, and with obstinate honesty endured the
consequences of his guilt.
Or it might be that in the natural terror
induced by the accomplishment of such a deed,
and the horror of the consequences certain to
ensue, he would have fled. Either the sturdy
endurance or the frantic fear would not have
been out of keeping with the hard, stubborn^
straightforward nature — but resolutely to
maintain his innocence even to his own
lawyer — to offer no explanation as to whether
the blow was dealt in cold blood or after bitter
altercation — Grace could not reconcile such a
line of conduct with anything she could re-
member of Scott, and out of the fulness of
her heart she spoke, ^^As certainly as you
stand there I believe Amos never killed that
'' Do you think you'll make a jury believe
A Ray of Light. 229
that, Miss Grace?" asked- Mrs. Scott, holding
a blue-checked apron to her face, down which
tears were coursing. Well, well — one trouble
is almost driven out by another — when
Eeuben's gone, there'll be no one to think
about but the master."
In this she chanced to be mistaken, however.
When Eeuben was gone, she herself lay fight-
ing for dear life with the fever which had
passed by her husband ; leaving him, so most
people said, for a worse fate than death by
the visitation of God.
IN THE NIGHT-WATCHES.
Before Miss Moffat liad nearlj^ readied
Maryville, Susan met her.
^' It went out of my head, Miss," she
began, ^'to tell you they had the fever at the
farm. You have been there most like."
^^ Yes ; and seen the lad who appears to be
^^What will we do now," asked Susan in
an access of despair, "the children have come
"Well, what of that?"
"What of that!" repeated the woman,
scornfully, " like as not you'll have brought
In the NiorJit- Watches.
the fever home in your clothes with
Grace stopped. It was a serious loss to her
as a woman that she had never been with
illness, and knew little or nothing about it,
and now unwittingly she had run the risk of
doing a very terrible wrong, — bringing infec-
tion into another person's house, amongst
another person s children.
^^ Oh ! I am so sorry," she exclaimed, un-
heeding the contemptuous inflection of Susan's
voice; ^^what can we do; what ought I to
^' You had better take off your outside things,
and give them to me to hang up in the air,"
was the reply uttered in a mollified tone. ^' I
will bring down your wrapper; and then if
you throw your other clothes into water, may-
be no harm will come of it. But don't go
talking to the mistress till you've changed."
'-'• I will not," promised Miss Moffat, and
she tried to keep her word, for wlicn Mrs.
Brady called to her querulously, Grace an-
232 The EarPs Promise,
'^Wait for a few minutes, I will be with
'^ I want you now."
^^ I cannot come. I have been to the Castle
Farm, and Eeuben is ill with fever; and I
must get rid of all possible chance of carrying
infection before I see any one."
" I do not care about infection," answered
" Well, if you do not I do," retorted Grace,
and she essayed to bolt her door ; but as is
not uncommon, even now in Ireland, all means
of secure fastening were either broken or in-
operative. '^ Dear Nettie," she went on, '' do
not come near me ; for the sake of the children,
if not for your own, keep away."
But Mrs. Brady resolutely had her will.
^'Who did you see at the Castle Farm?"
''Mrs. Scott and Eeuben. Nettie do be
persuaded, and go away. If you or any of
the children caught this fever, I should never
''We will not catch fever any one of us,"
hi the Night- Watches. 233
answered Mrs. Brady. ^' I want to hear about
the Scotts. What does Mrs. Scott say ? You
know what I mean.
" About Amos ? " Grace suggested ; ^^what
can she say. Do not let us talk of it, IN'ettie."
" I must talk of it. Are you not going to
see him, Grace?"
" Yes; but I did not intend to tell you."
'' Why not ? I want you to go. I want to
hear every word he speaks to you."
^^ISTettie, you are ill," said Miss Mofiat,
noticing the flush on her friend's thin cheeks,
the brightness of her eyes, and the parched
dryness of her lips ; "is there nothing you
could fancy, dear ; nothing I could get that
might tempt you to eat ?"
Mrs. Brady shook her head ; then said with
a faint smile, —
" I will try to eat something if you promise
to tell me word for word all Amos says to
" How can I do so, you being what you
are?" Grace replied.
" I am the most miserable wretch on earth,"
:!34 1^J^(^ EarPs Promise.
Nettie exclaimed. ^^My heart is breaking,
Grace, and yon will not do tlie simplest thing
to try and ease it."
'^]N"ettie dear, how can you ask me?''
pleaded Miss Moffat. ^^ I do not love yon less
because I refuse to betray any confidence the
unhappy man may put in me."
'^ Do you think I want him hung ?" inquired
Nettie. '^Do you think I should not be glad
to hear he had got off safe ? I tell you, if
laying down my own life could procure his
acquittal, I would cheerfully do it."
'^ You certainly must be insane," said Grace,
with the quiet force of conviction ; ^' however,
to humour you I promise this, that I will
repeat as much as I can of our conversa-
tion, although I should have thought this the
very last subject on which you would have
wished to hear me speak."
'' Should you ?" exclaimed Nettie. '' Well,
that only shows how mistaken even clever
people may be sometimes. Hush ! Here
comes that woman ! " and Mrs. Brady slipped
back into her own room, closing the door
softly behind her.
In the Nio-ht- Watches.
Faithful to her promise Nettie did try to
swallow something, but the attempt proved
almost a total failure.
^^It chokes me, dear," she said almost
humbly to her friend. ^^ I wish — I wish I
could have something to quiet me a little.
Don't you think," she added wistfully, '^ that
old Dr. Girvan, who has seen so many people
in trouble, might think of something that would
do me good ? "
^^He shall try," answered Grace; and she
sent a messenger for him.
"When the old man arrived he shook his head,
called Nettie ^ poor girl ' ; felt her pulse, said
the shock had been too much for her ; advised
that she should leave Maryville as soon as
possible; expressed his intention of sending
her a soothing mixtui-e, and went away be-
lieving he understood Mrs. Brady's case.
'' Ah ! " said Nettie after he had gone, '' if
these doctors when they listen to our hearts'
throbbing could only tell what is really
passing in them, j^ow we should dread their
236 The EarPs Promise.
" Dear, do try to keep yourself quiet," ex-
postulated Grace, and l^ettie obediently kept
Another restless night, as Grace heard ; so
restless that Grace rose and taking the child
^Nettie had insisted on having to sleep with her
away, put the little creature into her own bed,
and kept watch by Mrs. Brady till the next
'^ Grace," said the widow turning her face
towards her friend, and stroking the hand that
held hers so tenderly, ''you are too good to
me by far ; but some day I do not think you
will be sorry to remember all you have done
"Darling, I am only too thankful to be able
to do anything," was the reply, and Grace
pillowed the once beautiful face upon her arm ;
and whilst Nettie slept fitfully, looked at the
lines trouble had graven on the forehead she
could remember, as if it were only a day
previously, white and smooth and unmarked
by even a trace of care.
Without much trouble Amos Scott's soli-
Ill the Night- Watches. 237
citor had been able to obtain permission for
Miss Moffat to see her old friend. In Kil-
curragh it was talked of as a nine days'
wonder that a young lady of fortune and
position should so far demean herself as to pay
a visit to a common murderer ; for according
to general procedure the public had already
tried and condemned the suspected man.
If people were not very much concerned
about Mr. Brady's death, they were at least
very greatly infuriated against Amos Scott.
'^ IN'o man's life," they said, ^' would be safe
if the farmer was allowed to get off, — if those
who considered themselves injured were
suffered to take the law into their own hands
and revenge themselves as they pleased."
With much more to the same effect, which
Miss Moffat did not hear, and which would not
have greatly affected her had she heard.
Never before had Grace felt so much
shocked at the change a short time is capable
of effecting as when she beheld Amos Scott.
He was worn almost to skin and bone ; and
there was a sad, weary, despairing look in his
138 The EarPs Promise.
face that might well touch the heart of a
woman who had known him in his prime of
health and hope and prosperity.
There was a gentleness in his manner she
had never perceived before. It seemed almost
as though he had already passed through the
gates of death and dropped the rude garments
that concealed his finer and higher nature at
'^Miss Grace; Miss Grace, why did you
ever come to a place like this/' were his first
words. '' If the master had been alive he
would not have suffered it."
^' Very probably not," she answered. " He
would have come for me in that case ; now I
am alone, I have no one."
^'"Why did you demean 3^ourself for the
likes of me ? " he asked.
'-'- 1 am not demeaning myself," she re23lied,
'-^ and I came to see you because, guilty or in-
nocent, I cannot forget the past."
" I am not guilty, jMiss Grace."
^^ On your solemn word, Amos."
^^ If I was standing before my Maker, face to
In the Night- Watches, 239
face, as I believe I soon shall," he said rising,
and lifting his hand reverently above his
head, ^' I am not guilty in deed of the black
villain's death. I do not go so far as to say,"
he went on, dropping his hand and resuming
his seat, like one too weak to remain long
standing, '^I never wished him dead. I
tave often ; and even now I can hardly feel
sorry that he has been struck down. I have
been a murderer in my heart. Miss Grace ; I
don't deny it. Many and many a night when
I have been tramping home through the wet
and the mud — empty of food and sick with
sorrow, — I have thought if I coukljust hear he
had taken the fever, or broken his neck, or
been upset and drowned, I could have made
myself content to leave the old place — and
Ireland, — and go away to the country I said I
never could thole to be banished to. But
now," he added after an expressive pause,
'' I shall never have the chance ; I shall never
go anywhere but from here to the Court, and
from the Court back here ; and from liere
240 The EarPs Promise,
He covered liis face. A man may be brave
enough, and yet weak as a child when he tries
to speak of an ordeal such as this.
For a minute Grace did not speak ; she
could not for the tears she was trying to
restrain. Then she said, " Amos ! " and he
lifted his head.
^' Yes, Miss Grace."
^' Before God you are innocent ? "
" I have said so once, Miss ; there is no need
in my saying so twice ; for if you don't believe
me at my first telling, you won't believe me at
'^I beg your pardon," she said gently,
" I did believe you the first time. I ought
not to have tried to make assurance doubly
sure. More than that, before I ever came
here I felt you were innocent, and if it
is possible for me to save you, I will do
''Miss Grace," he answered, ''you mean
kindly, but you may be doing me a deadly
hurt. I have been facing certain death since I
came here,* and its bitterness is almost past.
In the Night- Watches, 241
If you drag me back, even for a bit, I must go
througli it all again."
It was a homely way of expressing the
cruelty of raising false hopes ; but Grace un-
derstood his meaning perfectly.
^' I am rich," she faltered, feeling the error
she had committed.
" Money won't do it," he answered.
" I have many friends possessed of in-
^' Influence can't save me. There is only
one thing could help me, Miss Grace ; and I
need not trouble you with talking about that,
because I know no more than the child still un-
born who killed the man. I have sat here
and gone over, and over, and over the story,
and can make neither head nor tail of it. All
I am sure of is, I had no act or part in the
murder ; and how my stick came to be where
they say it was found is beyond me, for I lost
it the night before ; and I never was near the
divisional road at all."
''What does Mr. D'Almarez say?" asked
VOL. III. R
242 The Earths Pro?nise.
^' He says nothing, except ^ tell me the truth,'
as if a man in my strait would be likely to tell
his attorney a lie."
'^ And what does he think about your having
lost your stick ?"
''He just thinks I never lost it, because
when he asked me about the places I had
been the day before, I couldn't mind. I have
been that perplexed, Miss, since Lady Jane
died, my memory won't serve me as it used."
''But surely, Amos, with trying, you might
"I have minded a good many. I was at
Eosemont to try to get speech of Mr. Eobert ;
and at the office ; and at the Glendare Arms,
where a stranger man, seeing I was in trouble,
treated me to a glass, bad luck to it ! for I
had not broken my fast, and the liquor got
into my head ; and I said things about Brady
they're going to bring up again me at the
trial ; and then I stopped at a heap of places
besides, but I can't mind just where, except
that at the last I called at Hanlon's surgery
for some stuff for the lad. I didn't forget that.
In the Night- Watches. 243
because lie went on at me for having had too
much, and made me mad because he wouldn't
believe me I had only had one glass to over-
come me — me — who could once have taken off
half-a-dozen without winking.
^^ And on the day of the , on the day
when Mr. Brady was killed?" Grace persisted.
^^"Well, Miss, I was that beat from the day
before, I did not stir out till evening ; and I
would not have gone then, but the wife she
would have me go to Kingslough and tell the
doctor the boy was worse. So I went there
and he was out, and I left my message ; and
in the ordinary way I should have come
straight home, but I thought I would go round
by Mark Lennon's, and tell his daughter we
had a letter from him she's promised to ;
but before I got there I turned that bad and
weak, I thought to make my home as fast as
I could, and so came across the fields and the
Eed Stream ; and they make that a charge
against me too. Miss Grace, because, as you
know, the colour of the clay there is the same
as the colour of the clay in the water
244 ^/^^ EarPs Promise.
alongside the divisional where Brady was
In spirit, Grace groaned. She believed the
man was speaking truly, but what jury on
earth would believe it also ! There was not a
point in his favour. Every statement he made
told against him. He could not say where he
lost his stick. He could not say where he had
been to lose it. He could not account for his
time after he left Kingslough on the night of
the murder. As to the place where he got the
mud found on his clothes, there was only his
own word, and of what value is the word of an
accused man. Even his own wife imagined
him guilty. IN'o one in the world, save Grace
Moffat, imagined it within the bounds of
possibility that, though circumstantial and
internal evidence were all against him, he
might yet be innocent ; and it was just on the
board that had she lived in Ireland for the
previous twelve months, and seen his animus
to Mr. Brady growing day by day, she might
have believed him guilty too.
"All I can say," she remarked, as she rose
In the Night- Watches, 245
to leave, ^'is this; you shall have the best
counsel money can procure."
''Thank you kindly, Miss," he answered,
"but, as I said before, money can't do it, and
man can't do it, let him be the best ever
stepped in shoe leather ; and if God does not
do it, and in these later days, as our minister
used to say, he has not seen fit to work visible
miracles, I must suflPer, Miss Grace ; that is all.
I have made my mind up to that now he is
dead, as I never could to giving up the farm
while he was living."
'' Amos," said Miss Moffat, " do not let what
your minister said impress you too much.
God does still work miracles, or what seem
miracles to us ; and if he sees fit he will clear
you from this."
" And if He does not see fit, Miss Grace,
I must just thole what He sends ; that is all.
You can say that to the wife if you have a
chance. Do you happen to know. Miss, how
it is with Eeuben ?"
For a moment Grace faltered ; then she
246 The EarPs Promise.
"Whatever else you are spared to see in
this world I am afraid — " she paused, and he
calmly finished the sentence.
"I won't see him. Well then, Miss, it
may be we shall meet all the sooner, Eeuben
and me, when he will know that wrongfully
blood-guiltiness was laid to my charge."
Mr. D'Almarez made no secret of his
chagrin at the result of this interview, and
it taxed his politeness sorely to listen to
Miss Moffat's account of it with even ordinary
He had hoped that to her Scott would
speak openly. He had expected to obtain
some information which might bring the crime
under the head of accident rather than design,
and enable him to fight for a verdict of man-
slaughter instead of murder. It was known
to every one in the county that Mr. Brady
had not treated the man well ; and if Scott
could only be got to state what actuallj^ passed
on the last occasion he and his eneni}^ ever
met, the lawyer felt something might be done,
supposing the blow had been struck without
In the N'ight- Watches. 247
premeditation, and that high and passionate
words had preceded it.
If a jury could be argued or coaxed into
believing Scott did not leave his hoDie with
the deliberate intention of murdering Mr.
Brady, the man's chance was by no means
hopeless; and there was this in his favour, that
the owner of Maryville had actually on the
day of the murder started to go to Dublin,
although for some unexplained reason he failed
to continue his journey, so that it was un-
likely Scott could have expected to meet him
near the Castle Farm.
On the other hand, it was against the ac-
cused that he knew Mr. Brady intended to
eject him from the house — that he had pub-
licly stated, '-'- Brady should never come into it
alive," and that he expressed his intention of
sticking to the old place even if it was pulled
down about his ears.
Still, considering what Mr. Brady had been,
and the amount of fancied or real injury he
inflicted on Amos, considering that the one
man had always been a dishonest reprobate,
248 The EarPs Promise.
and the other a hard-working decent, well-
conducted fellow, who never cheated a neigh-
bour of a halfpenny; that he had a son down
in fever, and children clamouring for bread ;
that he might well be nearly distraught
with want of food, and mental anguish ; con-
sidering what a picture a clever barrister
might fill in from these outlines, Mr. D'Al-
marez did not despair of doing something for
Scott, if only he could be induced to confess.
And now it seemed he did not intend to con-
fess; and the lawyer, chafing with irritation,
had to sit and listen to a woman's maunderings
about innocence and Scott's religious utter-
ances and other matters of the same kind, all
of which Mr. D'Almarez mentally summed up
in one word, ^^ Eubbish ! "
'^ It is all very well. Miss Mofi'at" he said,
when she finished, "for Scott to talk goody
twaddle — excuse the expression — to a lady or
a parson; but that sort of thing will not go
down with a judge or a jury. He mistakes
his position ; the period has not yet arrived for
that kind of conversation. Time enough for
In the Night- Watches, 249
religious exercises when lie lias clone with,
lawyers and been turned over to the chaplain.
You must pardon my plain speaking. The
only hope there is of saving Scott lies with
himself, and if he will persist in trying to
hoodwink me and playing at this foolish game
of hide-and-seek with his own attorney, I am
afraid there is not a chance of saving him."
^^But, Mr. D'Almarez," pleaded Grace,
'^ suppose the man has nothing to tell, sup-
pose he is not guilty, suppose he has really
tried to make his peace with God, expecting
nothing from man, and that every word he
said to me to-day were true, the natural expres-
sion of a broken and a contrite heart, in which
not a hope, so far as this world is concerned,
still lingers ? "
The lawyer smiled. It was very right and
proper, of course, for a lady to talk in this
strain, but it was a style of conversation for
which he himself did not much care, and very
possibly had Miss Moffat been older and uglier
and poorer, he might not have listened to it
even with the amount of politeness he evinced.
250 The EarPs Promise.
^^I cannot suppose an impossibility," lie
answered. '^Your own kindness of disposi-
tion and Scott's solemn assertions have, you
must allow me to say, blinded your judgment.
If you exercise it you will understand that
it is a simple impossibility for Scott to be in-
nocent. He may be innocent of intentional
murder, and that is the only point we can try
to make in his favour, but his hands are not
clean in the matter as he tries to make us
^^ Eemember the hatred he entertained for
Mr. Brady, recollect all he had suffered through
him, recall the expressions he was habituall}^
in the practice of using concerning him, the
threats he uttered not farther back than the
day before the murder, and then pass on to the
murder itself. Mr. Brady is found dead in a
lonely road leading straight to the Castle Farm.
He has been killed by a blow, and that blow it
is not disputed must have been dealt by a stick,
and that stick one belonging to Scott, which is
found at a little distance as if flung away in a
panic. According to Scott's own account he was
In the Night- Watches, 251
not in the divisional road at all that night, and
yet it was the most direct route back from Mr.
Hanlon's, where he admits he called. He says
he started to go round by Lennon's, but he
never went there. He says he lost his stick
on the previous day, but he does not know
where or how, and he cannot even remember
the places at which he stopped, or whether he
missed his stick before his return home, or
whether he ever missed it till it was found
after the murder.
"Further, admitting he did lose it, there is
no particular reason why he should not have
found it again. jSTor does the evidence against
liim stop even at this point. It is certain his
clothes were wet, and stained with clay of a
reddish colour. The banks and bed of the
stream running beside the divisional road
are, as you know, of that description. Depend
upon it. Miss Moffat, Scott is throwing away
his best chance by persisting in silence. No-
thing in my opinion really can serve him
except opening his mouth."
" I admit the truth and reason of all you
252 The EarPs Pro7nise.
say," she replied, ^^but faith is sometiines
stronger than reason, and I have faith Scott is
^^Unfortunately a jury have to decide on facts,
not faith," said Mr. D'Almarez rising to take
his leave. '^Of course, I shall do all in my power
for him, and if he is found guilty, we must try
to prevent his being hung ; but I really think
if he would only have placed full confidence in
me, we might have got him off with only a
sentence of manslaughter. Perhaps he may
still think better of it."
" No," Grace answered, ^' I do not think he
will — I hope he cannot. If after what he said
to me to-day he were to confess that he did
cause Mr. Brady's death, I should never be
able to believe any one again."
^' Ah ! Miss Moffat, you do not know how
great the temptation is to tell a falsehood if
one is afraid of telling the truth. I do not quarrel
with his statements on the ground of morality,
but only on that of common sense ; but then
that is lawyer's way of looking at such things.
It is not to be expected that a lady should take
In the Night' Watches. 253
the same view. I trust it may all turn out
better than I anticipate."
Miss Moffat drove back to Maryville in a
very sad and perplexed state of mind ; she had
seen none of her friends at Kilcurragh, except
that one at whose house her interview with Mr.
D'Almarez took place, and she had no desire to
see them. Amos Scott's position would, she
knew, be the prominent topic of interest, and
she did not possess sufficient moral courage
to desire to combat popular opinion single-
The more she thought about the matter the
more conclusive seemed the lawyer's statements.
Notwithstanding her own determined advo-
cacy, she felt that away from Amos her belief
in his innocency was not strong enough to
enable her to discard the extremely ugly
doubts raised in her mind by Mr. D'Almarez's
statement of the case.
Scott might believe that his sole chance of
escape lay in reiteration of his innocence, and
if this were so. Miss Moffat felt she could
forgive his falsehood. What she couUl not
254 The EarPs Promise,
forgive, however, was his religious hypocrisy
supposing his statement untrue, and with
feminine impetuosity she rushed to this con-
^' If Amos be guilty he is the worst man in
As there had been nothing in the conver-
sation of a confidential nature, Grace repeated
it to Mrs. Brady, merely omitting Scott's
remarks about the dead man.
In silence Nettie listened to the end, then
she asked, —
•^Are you sure he said he could not
remember where he left that stick ?" »
''Yes; he cannot even recollect where he
went the day he lost it."
''That seems strange, does not it?"
" I think not, if you consider what ho has
gone through. He looks starved and ill, and
bewildered. Oh ! Nettie, the Scotts must have
suffered terribly. ' '
" I suppose so," said Mrs. Brady absently,
as she sat looking out of the window with sad,
weary, wistful eyes; and finding she showed
In the Aught- Watches. 255
no desire to continue the subject, her friend let
it drop. Suddenly, however, Nettie rose, threw
her clasjDed hands above her head, and, with a
sigh which was almost a groan, hurriedly left
Miss Moffat had become too much ac-
customed to these demonstrations of restlessness
or grief, or whatever else the cause might be,
to attach much importance to them, but still
she thought it better to follow Nettie whom
she found in her own room sobbing as if her
heart would break.
Grace softly closed the door, and left her.
"Let her cry, poor thing," she thought.
"It will do her good. After all, no matter
what he may have been, he was her
For the first time since her retui-n to Ireland
Grace that night slept soundly; slept a sleep
unbroken by dreams ; undisturbed by the per-
plexities that troubled her waking moments.
How long she had been in bed she could not
tell, but at length from this depth of uncon-
sciousness she was slowly aroused by little
256 The EarPs Pro7nise.
fingers that spread themselves over her face
and hail', by a childish voice crying, —
^^ Oh ! lady, please waken, please, please do."
Thus entreated, the " lady," for by this name
Nettie's more especial favourite had elected
to call Miss Moffat, struggled back to a due
remembrance of where she was.
''What is it?" she asked between sleeping
''Mam-ma, oh! Mam-ma she frightens
Minnie," explained the little one.
With an effort Grace roused herself fully.
"Minnie darling, is that you?" she asked,
taking the child in her arms. "What has
" Mam-ma," repeated the shrill treble.
" She talks so funnily — "
In an instant Grace had on her slippers and
" I will go to your mam-ma, dear," she
said ; " but you must be very good and stay
quietly here and go to sleep."
Then she laid the little creature's head on
her own pillow, folded the sheet under her
In the Nisfht' Watches, 257
chin, gave her a parting kiss, and went into
the next room closing the door behind her.
Dawn was just breaking, and without strik-
ing a light, Grace walked over to where Mrs.
Brady lay, moaning and tossing, muttering
words too indistinct to catch.
" Nettie," and her friend shook her vi-
gorously; ^^ Nettie," — but no sign of recogni-
tion came. '-^ Nettie dear, do speak to me," —
not a word of reply was uttered.
For a moment Miss Moffat stood helpless,
then she went to that part of the house where
she supposed Susan slept.
''I am so sorry to disturb you," she said,
after awaking the woman, with that coiu'-
tesy which was a part of her nature when
addressing those below her in rank, ^'but I
fear Mrs. Brady is very ill. Do you think
you could go to the house of one of the men
and send him for Dr. Girvan ? "
'• What is the matter with her ? " asked
the woman brusquely.
'' I cannot tell ; she is moaning and restless
and docs not seem to know me in the least."
VOL. III. s
258 The EarPs P.
^^It's the fever, God help iis," said Susan.
'^ I'll waste no time, but go for the doctor
"' What ! in the middle of the night ?" ex-
^^ Ay, just as soon as if it was in the middle
of the day," she answered, and proved as good
as her word.
It was a long walk and a lonely to Kings-
lough, but Susan accomplished it, and brought
back Doctor Girvan by the time the sun was
Miss Moffat went down to speak to him, and
asked Susan to stay with her mistress for a
few minutes while she did so. Then the doc-
tor said he would see the patient; and as
Grace walked up and down the once neglected
garden trifling away the time, he went into
Mrs. Brady's room, the servant crossing him on
He remained there a quarter of an houi' or
more, and when she met him Miss Moffat saw
he looked ill at ease.
^^Do you think there is anything serious
the matter with her ? " she asked anxiously.
In the Night- Watches. 259
^'I cannot tell — yet," he replied. ''You
have been with her all night ? " he said in-
'' Yes, since I first Ivnew she was ill."
'' ]N'o one must go into the room but yourself
" You will know time enough. Amos
Scott never murdered her husband at all."
" Then who did?"
" If you listen she will tell you."
And Doctor Girvan, looking grey and old
and haggard in the morning light, drove away
so utterly amazed and horror-stricken at Mrs.
Brady's ravings that he forgot, if the fever
were infectious. Miss Mofiat stood a very fair
chance of catching it herself.
It was a heavy oppressive afternoon — over
Maryville a storm was brooding — the leaden
sky seemed almost to touch the tops of the
dark trees that hemmed in the house and
grounds so closely that they might well have
been likened to prison walls; not a sound
within or without broke the stillness ; in the
fields the cattle lay panting with the heat ; in
the woods the bii'ds kept silence, listening
perhaps for the first roll of thunder, following
swift after the leaping lightning.
It was a day to take the spirit out of imy
one, and Grace Moffat, as she sat alone in the
Two l7iterzn'eii)s. 16 1
large drawing-room, still insufficiently fur-
nished, though, some attempt had been made
to fill its emptiness, felt miserable and de-
pressed to a degree of utter wretchedness.
She had made up her mind what she ought
to do, but she still hesitated and shivered at the
idea of doing it. ITettie had been seriously-
ill for two days, and there could be no question
that, although her malady had been at first
merely inflammation of the brain, her disease
was now complicated with the fever raging at
the Castle Farm.
But Grace did not care for that — a new
horror had cast out the old. If she had only
been able to shake off the last task set for
her, she would cheerfully have run the risk of
contracting a dozen fevers ; she had en-
treated Doctor Girvan to take it out of her
hands, but he shook his head.
^' Leave it till she gets better ; there is
time enough," he said, but Grace knew there
was not time enough — that what she had to
do ought to be done at once.
Sometimes she thouglit of writiui^ to Lord
262 The EarPs P>
Ardmorne and requesting his advice and
assistance in the matter; but having learnt all
she knew through the delirious utterances of
an unconscious woman, she felt herself charged
with the weight of a fearful secret, which she
was bound in love and honour to bear alone.
As for her tending J^ettie without assistance,
Dr. Girvan's medical sense had told him any
such proceeding was impracticable, quite as
soon as Grace's common sense had told her
the same thino;.
Without going through the ceremony of
consulting him. Miss Moffat had despatched a
messenger for her own little maid, mentioned
once before in these pages.
^' I want you to help me nurse Mrs. Brady,
who is ill with FEVER," she wrote. '' If you are
afraid, do not come."
Back with the messenger, bundle in hand,
came Nancy, trim and pretty as ever, radiant
with delight at seeing her former mistress
^•"What did your mother say, IN'ancy?"
asked Grace, looking at the bright young face
Tiw Litervieivs. 263
not without a certain feeling of remorse for
having brought it to a house where death
might be lurking for its owner.
^^ Say, Miss— nothing, to be sure; wasn't I
coming to you! "
Miss Moffat walked to the window and back
again, thinking in what form of words to tell
the girl what she wanted with her.
'^K'ancy," she began, ^^ if it had been only
to nurse Mrs. Brady I required help, I would
never have asked you to help me. Plenty of
women older and more experienced than you
could have been found for such a duty, but
what I really require is a person whom I can
trust to keep silence. I want you to promise
me that to no human being now or hereafter —
unless I give you leave — you will ever men-
tion a word of what you may hear in Mrs.
'^I'll be true to you, Miss Grace, what you
bid me I will do ; it's my right and my plea-
Infancy had not been ten minutes installed in
the sick room before Susan asked to speak a
word with Miss Moffiit.
264 The EarPs Promise,
^^Now that you're getting your own ser-
vants here, Miss," she began, '^ you'll likely
not be wanting me any longer, and I just
want to say I'll go without any telling, if
'' I am not getting my own servants here,"
said Miss Moffat, bewildered at the sudden turn
affairs had taken. " I do not want to meddle mth
the arrangements of any other person's house ;
but I cannot nurse Mrs. Brady alone, you
must know that, and I want to have some one
with me I can trust."
" You might have trusted me. Miss," said
the woman, with a smouldering fire in her dark
eyes. '^The Lord knows you might. Even
though you have done this thing and brought
a stranger to this sorrowful house, man nor
woman shouldn't ^Ting from me what I know,
nor — " she added after a pause, devoted pos-
sibly to conjuring up an effective finish to her
sentence, " wild horses shouldn't tear it. I
never did like the mistress, for all her pretty
face and quiet ways ; but I came nearer liking
her the other morning than ever I did before,
Two hiterviews, 265
wlien I found out how the trouble had been
eating in like rust, when I heard her letting
out everything she would have bitten her
tongue off before she would have spoken in
her right mind. It was her silence always beat
me ; but I'd have nursed her better than that
slip of a thing can do, and I'd have died, Miss,
before I let on she had been talking of any-
thing beyond the common."
Miss Moffat stood silent for a moment, then
she said, —
*' I think open speaking is always a good
thing. So far as I am concerned I should be
quite willing to trust you. I have been so
sure of your good faith, I never asked whether
Mrs. Brady had been talking strangely after I
left her and went down to Doctor Girvan,
but— I do not want to hurt your feelings —
how was it possible for me to let you nurse
her ? Do not imagine I am setting myself up
as a judge of you or anybody else ; all I ask is,
if you had been in her place should you have
liked such an arrangement yourself? "
The woman did not answer direct, but she
broke forth, —
266 The EarPs Promise,
" Do you want me to leave ? I was fond of
the children. I did my best by them, I am
doing all I know how now."
^^ISTo," Miss Moffat replied ; '' I do not want
you to leave ; at present, I may tell you, it
would inconvenience me beyond expression if
you were to do so. When Mrs. Erady is
better, no doubt she will wish you to go. I
say this frankly, but when that day comes, if
you want a chance for the future, if you want
to wipe out the past and try to make a better
thing of the rest of your life, I will help
This time the answer came quick and sharp.
^^ If there were more ladies like you, there
would be fewer women like me," said the
poor sinful creature ; her assurance vanquished,
her insolence gone, — and, throwing her apron
over her head, she went along the stone passage
leading to the kitchen, sobbing — sobbing every
step of the way.
Which evidence of contrition touched Miss
Moffat beyond expression, and gave her much
hope concerning Susan's future. She had
Tii^o Intervieivs. 267
learned many things during the previous
twelve months, but she had still to be taught
that repentance for past errors is not by any
means a guarantee for future good beha-
viour; that the tears wept over a crime
committed and irrevocable, dry up almost as
soon as shed, and form no lake of bitterness
across Avhich humanity finds almost insu-
perable difficulty in steering to another sin.
Nevertheless, to be done with the subject,
it may as well be here stated that Miss
Moffat's generosity and Susan's impressibility
between them bore good fruits.
The woman sinned no more. To the end
of her life she was perhaps scarcely a desirable
person to know, but she married respectably a
man who was acquainted with her antecedents,
and the pair migrated to a strange country,
where their children and their children are
working their way to name and fortune.
So goes the world — the busy, busy world
we live in. How would the Puritan Fathers
have looked upon the man who should marry
a woman notable for antecedents such as
2 68 The EarPs Promise.
Still Grace sat looking out at the funereal
trees, at the garden full of flowers, — the com-
mon sweet-scented perennial flowers, — which
made many an otherwise poor home so rich
in colour and perfume before the present
bedding-out system was invented by ingenious
and enterprising nurserymen, — still she cast
an occasional glance at the threatening sky;
her thoughts divided the while between the
murdered man Avho lay in a quiet little bury-
ing ground amongst the hills, — his day ended
while it was still high noon, his power for evil
over, his ability to vex and distress gone, —
and the person who had dealt the blow which
silenced the beating of that wicked heart,
ended all its schemes, plots, hopes, purposes for
As yet she had not written to Mr. D' Almarez ;
she had done nothing but think what had best
be attempted in the matter — what it was
possible to perform.
As to allowing things to remain as they
were till Nettie got better, she put that idea
aside as out of the question. To Doctor
Two Intervieivs, 269
Girvan it appeared the only course to pursue ;
but then he shrank from responsibility. He
was old, broken, feeble, and possessed of little
moral courage ; all his life long his role had
been to know nothing, and pass from house to
house leaving the secrets of each behind him,
and why should he mix himself up with
trouble and mischief now ; or allow Miss
Moffat to mix herself up in such an affair, if
he could avoid doing so?
Grace, on the contrary, blamed herself for
having permitted her own fears and disinclina-
tion to take so serious a responsibility on her
own shoulders to influence her for such a
length of time.
'^ If I can keep my own share in the transac-
tion secret," she thought, ^^ I. should like to do
so; but if not, and that unpleasant consequences
ensue, I shall face them bravely as I am able.
I wonder whether I could be punished. I
wish I dare ask Mr. D'Almarez. Shall I write
and put the question to Mi'. Nicholson ? No.
I must wait no longer, whatever comes of it ;
no more time ought to be lost."
270 TJie EarPs Promise,
At this moment some one knocked gently
on the panel of the cbawing-room door, and
thinking it could only be Susan or Mary, Miss
Moffat said, ^' Come in," without turning her
€yes from the window.
[N'ext moment, however, some indescribable
feeling imj^elled her to look round, and there
standing in the open doorway, like a picture in
a frame, was a tall bearded man who appeared
as much astonished to see her as she was at
sight of him.
^^I beg your pardon," he said, ''but I
expected to find Mrs. Brady here. I asked for
her and the servant pointed to this door."
''Mrs. Brady is dangerously ill," Grace
replied; "with fever," she added, seeing the
stranger advance into the room; then a
second's doubt and hesitation, and she ex-
claimed, holding out her hand, —
" Why, it must be John Eiley !"
"And you," he said, after an almost
imperceptible pause, "must be Miss Moffat,
though I should scarcely have known you."
"I have had little rest and much anxiety
Tvoo Interviews. 271
since I returned to Ireland," slie answered, as
if apologizing for the change in her appearance.
He smiled gravely; it was not the right
time, and he was not the right person, to tell
her she had altered almost beyond his recogni-
tion, merely because she was now the most
beautiful woman he had ever met.
" I thought you were in England," he said,
putting aside the dijficulty by changing the
'^ So I was," she replied,' ^' until very lately.
I came over here directly I heard about Mr.
Brady, and I am glad I did come, for Mrs.
Erady is very lonely and very ill. And that
reminds me you ought not to stay here."
^^ Why not?"
^'' For fear of infection."
^' I have lived in a climate where fever is so
common people forget to fear it," he said.
'' But Mrs. Eiley and your sisters have not,"
"I am not staying at Woodbrook," he
answered. ^'I am at Lakemount, and the
long ride back there will rid me of infection if
I catch any here."
272 The EarPs Promise,
ISTot at Woodbrook ! Time was when Grace
would have asked him the why and the where-
fore of such an extraordinary proceeding, but
she could not do this now. IN'either could he
tell her what a grievous disappointment his
return home had proved ; how terrible that life
of shortness, meanness, discontent, complaining,
had seemed to him after the wider and nobler
career his Indian experience had opened to
him. He had done for his family all a man
could, and his family were dissatisfied with his
efforts. ]^ot merely were affairs no better than
when he went away, but they ^Yere infinitely
worse. The amount of the mortgage was
increased, the land was deteriorated in valae,
the houses and cottages were dilapidated, and
in many cases almost falling to ruin, whilst
"Woodbrook itself gave evidence at every turn,
of neglect ; shortness of money ; lack of spirit
to improve ; lack of will to make the best of a
* bad position; lack of faith that time and
patience and energy might work wonders in
the way of repairing even the shattered for-
tunes of the Eiley family.
Two Interviews. 273
Naturally, wtien absent, a man forgets the
failings of those belonging to him, if indeed he
ever knew them; and perhaps there is no
greater trial than for a person to return to the
home of his youth to find it and the people it con-
tains different from the ideal, experience of the
world has been gradually working up for him.
But these were things of which John Eiley
could not speak to any one. Eight glad had
he been to accept Lord Ardmorne's invitation,
and leave Woodbrook for Lakemount.
^' Deserting his own flesh and blood," said
^' It does not seem to me that his own flesh
and blood made things very pleasant for him,"
observed the General, his old spirit roused at
the implied blame to his son.
Mr. John Eiley' s visit to Maryville was
prolonged perforce ; for he had not been seated
many minutes before a flash of lightning,
followed by a loud sullen peal of thunder,
announced that the storm so long thi'eatened
During the time he remained he spoke of
VOL. III. T
274 ^'^^ EarPs Promise.
little, except Nettie ; her position and her
future prospects. He had been informed there
was no will, and that, consequently, the eldest
son taking the freehold property, Mrs. Brady's
share of her late husband's estate would pro-
bably be small.
^^But, of course, all the children being
young, she will have an allowance for their
support," finished Mr. Kiley.
'' Money," thought Grace, ^^ money again."
Had any one put the question, however, to
Miss Mofiat, how people are in this world to
live without money, she might have been
slightly puzzled to tell them.
" If there is any way in which I can be of
assistance to Mrs. Brady, I should regard it
as a great kindness if you would let me
know," said Mr. Eiley, when at length he rose
In her friend's name Grace thanked him,
and then he went on, —
^' You have warned me against this fever,
Miss Moffat; but are you not running a
terrible risk yourself in the matter ?"
Two Literviews. 275
^^No," she answered; ^^ I shall not take it."
"How can you be certain of that?" he
" I have a perfect conviction on the subject,"
she said. " It is not intended I should have
fever at present."
"Are you a fatalist?" inquired Mr. Eiley.
" On some points, yes," she replied, and
then he went ; and Grace from an upper win-
dow watched him ride slowly away down the
avenue, till the gloomy trees, dripping wet
from the late storm, hid him from her sight.
For one second after she first recognized
him, she had felt tempted to show her burden
to this man who had once loved her, and ask
him to take its weight and its responsibility.
Only for one second. The formal Miss Moffat
with which he addressed her cast the half-
formed resolution to the winds.
How could she tell anything of the weary
days, months, years, in which he had been
schooling himself to forget the old familiar
name, and think and speak of her only as Miss
276 The EarPs Promise .
How could she, who had never loved him,
understand the shock, the surprise, the misery,
the pleasure, that sudden meeting had proved
to him ! How was it possible for her to com-
prehend anything save that he was changed,
that the John Eiley of her childish and girlish
recollection was gone as utterly as the years
which were past !
Dimly and yet certainly, watching his figure
as it slowly disappeared, Grace grasped the
truth, that when she refused him that evening,
while the scent of summer flowers was around
them, and the sea rippled in on the shore, she
killed the John she had known so long — been
associated with so intimately.
That John was dead and buried ; and the
John Eiley, with the bronzed face and erect
figure and bushy beard, who had answered her
greeting so formally, was another man.
Over this interview, however, Grace had not
much time to think. Another was impending
that occupied her mind to the exclusion of
almost every other topic.
''Shall I put it off?" she thought; ''the
Two Litervieivs, 277
lanes will be wet and the grass soaking."
And then she put the temptation from her.
'' It must be done. Supposing I were to
catch this fever, who would there be to see
justice done ; to save them both, if possible ?"
If possible ; she shivered at the suggestion
contained in the words.
She went to her room, in a different part of
the house from where !N"ettie lay ; and putting
on her travelling-dress, an old bonnet and
coarse shawl she had found belonging to Mrs.
Brady, looked in the glass to see if in the dusk
might hope to pass through Kingslough un-
'' With a thick veil I think I shall be safe,''
she said ; and then she took off the shawl,
carrying it over her arm, and put a thick lace
fall in her pocket, and taking the key of a
side-door with her, passed through one of the
drawing-room windows into the gardens, and
so made her way unobserved out of the grounds
Once in the fields of the Castle Farm she
knew every inch of the country, and this
278 The EarPs Promise.
knowledge enabled her to reach, by unfre-
quented roads and by-paths, that part of the
shore lying beneath the hill on which Bally-
lough Abbey stood.
There on a great piece of rock she sat down
to rest, and wait till the twilight deepened and
When it was fairly dusk she resumed her
walk, still along the beach, never entering
Kingslough till she reached the further end of
the town, whence through narrow lanes and
back streets she arrived at Mr. Hanlon's sur-
Her hand trembled so much at first that she
could not pull the bell. At last she heard it
tinkle, and to her great relief the door was
opened by Mr. Hanlon in person.
^^ I wish to speak to you, if you please,"
she said, in a voice so low and quivering, that
the poor attempt she made to disguise it was
^^ Certainly ; come in."
^^ In private," she suggested.
^' You have come to tell mc some great
Two Interviews. 279
secret, I suppose/' lie remarked jocularly ;
desiring, apparently, to put his tiuiid patient
at her ease. ^^ Go in there," he added, ^point-
ing to a parlour beyond the surgery, where he
had no doubt been reading, for a lamp stood
on the table, and a book lay open near it.
^'Now what is it?" he went on, placing a
chair for his visitor, and taking one himself.
She did not speak, but turned her head in
the direction of the door of communication
which he had left ajar.
'•If you wish it, by all means," he said,
answering that look, and he rose and not only
shut but locked it.
" Now, what have you to tell me," he
She put back her veil and looked him
straight in the face.
As she did so, he shrank as though he had
received a blow, and every particle of colour
" Miss Moffat ! " he exclaimed. '' You in
"Yes; at Maryville," was her reply.
■ ' Now, you know why I am liere."
28o The Earfs Promise.
'-^ "Wait a minute/' he said, and unlocking
the door passed out into his surgery. He was
not a man addicted to stimulants. Even in
these days he would have been accounted ab-
stemious, and for those times when temperance
had scarcely established itself as a virtue, he
was reckoned, amongst wild young fellows
who knew no better, and old ones who ought
to have known better, a milksop who was
^^ afraid to take his liquor because he could not
Now, however, he unlocked a cupboard, and
pouring himself out half a tumbler of raw
spirit, swallowed it at a gulp ; then he went
back and said, —
^^No, Miss Moffat, I do not know why you
are here ; though I can guess why you might
have sent some one else."
'^Who else might I have sent?" she in-
'^ Why there is only one thing now to do, is
there?" he retorted.
^' What is that?"
^^ Give me up as I have lacked courage to
give myself up," he said desperately.
^^ Then yon do not deny it ?" she said.
^^ Deny it ! Why should I deny it ? Have
not I known it must come to this some time ?
Have I ever ceased cursing my own vacillation
in not going straight away to the inspector
here, and telling him the whole story ? People
might have believed me then ; but they will
never believe me now."
There was a moment's silence which he
broke by asking, —
" How did you get to know about this. Miss
^' Mrs. Brady is too ill to keep many
secrets," was the reply.
^' 111 ! what is the matter with her ?" he
^' "Who is attending her ? "
^^ Doctor Girvan."
''The old dotard will kill her," he ex-
"He will do no such thing," answered
Grace sharply. '' Doctor Girvan will no more
kill Mrs. Brady than you have killed Eeiibcn
282 The EarVs Promise.
Scott. If she clieSj it can only be because
God willed she was to do so, not because she
has lacked attention. ^Nevertheless," added
Grace reflectively, ^' I should have had further
advice, only I feared — "
^^ Do not let that consideration influence
you any longer," he said, ^' I shall give myself
up in the morning."
" Why do you say that ?''
'^Because there is nothing else to do," he
answered with a bitter laugh. ^^ Because the
game is played out, and I may as well throw
down the cards as have them taken out of my
'' Shall I tell you what you ought to do?"
asked Miss Moffat.
'-'- If you will be so good."
She took no notice of the mocking defiance
of his tone, the recklessness of his manner
with which he tried to cover the abject despair
that was mastering him; but went on, gathering
courage as she proceeded, —
^^You ought to leave Kingslough at once.
Scott can be saved without you; and Mrs.
Tim Intervieiijs, 283
Brady's name should be kept out of this
miserable affair altogether."
'' She is innocent," he said. ^' Tell me any
form of words of I can employ, sufficiently
strong to assure you of that, and I will use
Instinctively Grace drew back from the
subject. ^^ I am very certain she is innocent,"
she replied. '^ I require no assurance on that
point from any one."
'^ I beg your pardon and hers," he answered;
more humbly than he had yet spoken. " You
are quite right. Miss Moffat," he continued,
after a moment's pause. ^^ If I stay here I
may not be able to save my own life. If I
go I shall spare her — perhaps."
" There is no perhaps in it. The greatest
kindness you can do Mrs. Brady is to leave here
^^ Leave, to be brought back," he said.
^' Fly, to make my return all the worse ? "
'' There is no occasion for you to be brought
back," she urged. '^ There is plenty of time
for you to make youi- way to some country
where you may be safe for the rest of your life."
284 The EarPs Pro?nise,
" There is no time," he said; ^' once Scott's
innocence is declared, the law will be on my
track like a bloodhound."
^^ I have thought it all over," she persisted,
'* Scott's trial can, I am persuaded, be put off.
Up to the present time, it may be supposed, no
one knows anything of this except yourself
and Mrs. Brady. Mrs. Brady is too ill to give
evidence. Weeks must elapse before she can
be questioned. Make use of those weeks.
Go away as if for a visit, and stay away."
He put his elbows on the table and covered
his face with his hands, and, as in some night-
mare, the whole of his life passed in review
before him. It had opened with such fair
prospects ; and behold, this was the end ! He
had hoped to win wealth, women's smiles,
golden opinions from his fellows; and the end,
was a choice of two alternatives: — to remain,
and, if he escaped the gallows, be sentenced
to transportation, most probably for life ; or to
escape, and lead a fugitive existence, under an
assumed name, for the rest of his days.
He thought of the sacrifices his father had
made for him; he thought of the castles his
Two Interviews, 285
mother had built with her son's fame, or her
son's talent, or her son's greatness for the
foundation-stone of each; he thought of how
proud he had felt of his own gifts; of how certain
he had been of achieving success; and now he
let his hands drop and looked at Miss Moffat
with a face so white, so haggard, so aged, so
hopeless, that Grace was forced to turn her
eyes away. She could not bear to look upon
a wreck so sudden and so complete.
^^You ought not to be staying here," he
said, in a choking voice and with an evident
effort. "You came by the shore, I suppose?
You would not mind, perhaps, if I asked leave
to walk part of the way back with you. I
mean, you would not feel — afraid."
"Afraid!" she only spoke that one word,
but it was enough. He could feel there were
tears and sorrow, and compassion and regret
in her tone; tears, sorrow, compassion, and
regret for him.
" If you will walk slowly along the beach I
will follow you," he said. " I — I want to tell
you how it all happened."
286 The EarPs P.
r 07 J use.
She bowed her head in acquiescence, drew
the veil over her face once more, and passed
out silently into the night.
She had not walked more than halfway to
Ballylough Head before he was at her side.
"Without waiting for him to speak, she said, —
^' I do not know, Mr. Hanlon, whether you
have a sister."
Under the circumstances it seemed to him a
curious question, but he answered,^ —
^' I have."
^'Before you tell me anything, I want to
know if I may, without giving you offence,
speak to 3^ou as your sister if she were here
might, and would ?"
^'If one of my sisters were speaking to me
now," he replied, ^'she would not, I am
very sure, find much to say that was pleasant.
They have built their hopes on me, and now —
but go on, Miss Moffat, say anything you like,
no matter how true it may be, I will try to
^^You mistake me a little, I think," she
said; ''all I meant was that if a sister found
Two Intervieivs. 287
her brother in a sore strait as you are now, she
would speak to him with no more reserve than
I am about to do. Ever since I knew of this
matter I have been thinking how it will be
best for you to get away ; what it will be best
for you to do when you have got away. I
suppose I am right in imagining you might
find a difficulty in finding the means at once
for a long journey."
^^I have done very well at Kingslough," he
replied, '^and if I could only sell my practice,
and I had an ofi'er for it not long since, I should
have no difficulty in going to the uttermost
ends of the earth."
^^Yes, but by the time you had sold your
practice it might be too late. If you can get
any friend to take your place while you go
away apparently for a holiday, you had better
leave everything just as it is at this moment.
Woman's wit is quick, Mr. Hanlon, if it be
not very profound, and my wit tells me every
hour you lose in quitting Kingslough may
prove nearer — nearer — that which we all want
to avert. I have very little money here, but I
288 The EarPs Promise.
can send you a letter which will enable you to
get all you may require. You are not offended
I hope?" she went on hurriedly ; ^' I know you
cannot escape without sufficient money to do
so, and it will be the happiest day of my life
when I hear you have got safely out of the
All the manhood which was in him rebelled
against having to accept such help as this; and
for a moment he bared his head and let the
cool night wind play upon his temples to
relieve the pain which seemed tearing his
brain to pieces. !Never had Theophilus Hanlon
seemed such a poor creature to himself before;
no, — not even when he fled from the side of
the man he had murdered ; never had he been
thoroughly humbled in his own estimation
previously. If she had loved him ; if he could
only for one moment have flattered himself she
cared for him more than for the most ordinary
acquaintance, the stab might not have pierced
As it was, he felt the wound was bleeding
internally, and that it would continue to bleed
at intervals throughout all the years to come.
Two Interviews, 289
^^ I have offended you," she said. ^' Pardon
my want of tact. I did not mean to hurt your
^' Hurt my feelings ! " he repeated; in the
interval during which he remained silent he
had tested the truth of each word she said, and
admitted, reluctantly it might be, but still
certainly, that without such help as she
offered, liberty and he might shake hands and
part for ever. ^^ Hurt my feelings ! When a
man has done what I have done, when he has
failed to do what I have failed to do, he may
reasonably be supposed to have no feelings
left to hui't. And yet, Miss Moffat," he went
on, ^^I will be frank with you; just for a
moment your offer cut me. It is so hard — oh !
my God," he broke out in a passion of agony,
*^what had I ever done that such a trouble
should come upon me ! "
"Hush! "said Grace. It seemed to her
excited fancy as if in the darkness, his
voice must travel more swiftly than in the
light, to the Throne of Him whose justice and
righteousness he questioned. '^What have any
VOL. III. u
290 TJie EarVs Promise.
of us done that trouble should not come ? But
in our eyes it does appear hard," she went on.
" If you like — if it will not pain you — tell me
how it all came about."
" I do not know how it began," he answered.
^^ I supposed no one ever does. I could no
more tell you how it was I came to care for
Mrs. Brady than I could tell you how the grass
grows, or the sea ebbs and flows. One thing,
however, I do know, she never cared for me ;
never in that way. If she had, I should not
be talking to you here now ; if she had we
would have been far away from Ireland long
ago. I did not intend to tell her about it,"
he continued, "but one day it slipped out; and
then she turned round and laughed in my face,
such a mocking, despairing, forsaken sort of
laugh, it rung in my ears for many a week
" '- Keep that for the next young girl you
meet, Mr. Hanlon,' she said, ' who knows no
better. I have heard it all before. Do you
suppose I should ever have left my home,
poor as it was, and my friends, few as they
Two Interviews. 291
were, if he had not first thrown that glamour
over me ? A woman cannot be deceived twice ;
and there is no vow yon or anybody else
could swear, no temptation you could hold out,
that could make me trust my future a second
time in a man's bauds.'
^^ She loved her children as I never knew a
woman love them before, though she was
afraid to show her affection, lest he should
find means of punishing her through it ; and
because I was kind to them, she had a feeling
for me — gratitude, friendship, trust — I do not
know what to call it — which would have pre-
vented her from making any open breach be-
tween us, even if she had dared to tell her
husband of the words I had spoken.
'^But she did not dare to tell him. It was
cowardly, I make no doubt, not to leave a
woman so placed ; but except for me she was
friendless, helpless, in the hands of a demon,
and I could not keep from trying to know how
things were with her.
" They grew worse and worse. After his
attempt to get General Eiley's estate failed,
292 The EarPs Pro7nise,
the life he led his wife baffles description, and
yet she tried to hide what she suffered from
every one, even from me. She wanted him to
leave the country; she thought if she could
separate him from his bad associates, it might
be better for the children at any rate, if not
for her. I have seen her wringing her hands
about the stories which were told and the
ballads that were written and sung ; and she
used to say she hoped it would be all gone
and past, all forgotten and put out of men's
minds before the children grew up.
'-^ ' Por if not,' she asked, ^ what is to be-
come of them ? '
'^ Then I prayed of her again to leave him.
I offered to get her and the children away
safely by some means if she would let me
arrange it all, and take"them where he could
never find them.
'^ That time she did not laugh. She began to
tremble all over, and said, —
'' ' If you were a woman and made me the
same offer, I would go this hour ; but if I did
what you want me, how could I ever look my
Two Interviews. 293
boys in the face when they grew to be men —
how should I teach my girls to be better than
their mother had been. I would rather kill
myself than do it. Never ask me such a thing
" I went out of the house ashamed, Miss
Moffat. I vowed to myself I never would ask
her again, and I kept as much away as I could
from Maryville, until after that morning when
she stole into Kingslough, and, half distracted,
tried to tear down the bills with which, as you
have no doubt heard, the town was placarded.
A man saw and pursued her. I happened to be
returning from a bad case which had detained
me all night, and she ran right up against me.
There was only one thing to do, and I did it.
I knocked the fellow down, and as she had
fainted carried her into my surgery. When
she was better I walked home with her, and
from that time began the mischief which has
ended as you know.
" So far as I could gather, the man I knocked
down bore malice, and took occasion, when he
was less than ordinarily sober, to jeer Mr.
294 ^^^^ EarPs Promise,
Brady about there being an understanding
between me and bis wife. Mr. Brady forbade
me to set foot inside Maryville, and I obeyed
him until that night. Do I weary yoa ? "
"No," Grace answered. "I want to hear
all you haye to tell me. Some day she may be
glad to have a person near her who knows the
"The eyening before, Scott had been with
me. He came in the worse for drink, and
talked excitedly of the Glendares and Mr.
Brady and his own ^yrongs. He said when
Eobert Somerford came to be earl, if he ever
did, he would not have an acre to call his own ;
that it had come home to the Glendares as it
would come home to Mr. Brady ; and then he
went on in a maundering sort of way to speak
— forgive my mentioning the matter, but it is
connected with that which followed — of what
a blessing it was you had never after all taken
up, as he styled it, with Mr. Somerford. ' Ay,
it was a good and honest gentleman the first
that asked her, if Miss Grace could have fancied
him. There never was a Eiley, Tories though
Tii^o Interviews. 295
they are, would have broken his promise, and
brought a poor man to beggary, as Th' Airl
has done by me.'
^^^But,' he went on, ^ Brady did not get
"Woodbrook from his wife's cousins, and it's
like, clever as he thinks himself, he won't have
the Castle Farm neither.'
''As the man spoke, it flashed through my
mind that it was Mrs. Brady who had revealed
her husband's designs on Woodbrook. I lay
awake the whole night thinking about it, and
then I understood dimly, but certainly, that
when she wished to meet you, it was to tell
you of his plans, when she wi'ote to you it
was to entrust you to frustrate them."
''You are right," Grace remarked as he
stopped for a moment, living, perhaps, the misery
of that anxious night over again once more.
"What I suffered thinking about her and
her position after that no one can conceive. I
knew the man's nature. I had seen him
mentally unclothed, and I was certain all she
had endured previously at his hands would be
nothing as compared with what would follow
296 The EarPs Promise.
if once a suspicion of the truth entered his
mind. I felt I must see her once again, and
warn her of the danger that menaced.
"Whatever they might have been before, my
feelings then were unselfish. You believe
me, Miss Moffat?"
'-'- 1 do, but pray go on."
" I knew he intended to go to Dublin the
next day, and I saw him take the coach at Kil-
curragh, where I made it my business to be.
When I returned home, Scott had been round
to say Eeuben was worse, and so, putting some
medicine for the lad in my pocket and Scott's
stick, which he had left in my room the pre-
vious evening, in my hand, I started for the
Castle Farm, taking Maryville on my way. I
did not want any one at the latter place to
know of my visit. Mr. Brady had put the
last insult on his wife, and — "
'' I know," Grace interrupted, '' we need
not talk of that — "
'' After making sure there was no one about,
I went into the flower-garden, and concealing
myself behind some shrubs, looked into the
Two Interviews, 297
room where she generally sat. You know it,
the small apartment adjoining the drawing-
room. She was there alone ; and when I
tapped at the window, seeing who it was she
came and undid the fastening for me.
^^ ^I must speak to you,' I said. ' Will you
come out, or is it safe for me to speak to you
here ? '
^' ^ Quite safe,' she answered, moving the
candle so that no one from the outside could
see me where I sat. ^ l^ow, what is the
mattter ? '
*' In a few words I told her what I suspected.
She said I had guessed rightly.
^^ ^ Are you not afraid,' I asked, ' of what
may happen if Mr. Brady ever guesses it
also ? '
^^^No," she said; 'I do not intend to wait
" ' Do you mean that at last — ' I began,
scarcely able to believe the evidence of my
senses, and in that very moment, when as it
seemed all 1 had wished for was within my
grasp, feeling a dull sick wish we liad
298 The EarPs Promise.
never met, that I had never loved, never
^' ' No, Mr. Hanlon/ she answered; there
was a composure and a peace about her I had
never seen before; the hard restraint which
usually characterized her was gone, and as she
stood with the light streaming on her face,
there was a hope which never previously shown
in them gladdening her eyes. ^No, Mr.
Hanlon, I do not mean that, and some day you
will be thankful for it. What I mean is this,
John Eiley has come home. He is in Ireland ;
I could trust my life in his hands. He will
protect me ; he will enable me to get free from
my husband, and to keep my children all to
myself. If you still wish to serve me, you can
see him and repeat what I say ; you can tell
him all — all you have seen in this house, all
you know I have gone through, and bid him
find some way of helping me as I found a way
of helping him and his.'
^^ We talked for a little time longer, and then
I left her. As I was going she noticed what a
heavy stick I carried, and asked with a smile
Two Intervicim. 299
sucli as had never lighted up her face in my
knowledge of it, whether I was afraid of
being stopped that I walked about with such
^^ I said it belonged to Amos Scott, who
had left it at my place the previous night,
and that I was going to take it to the
" ^ Thev have fever there ' she remarked.
^^'Yes, and a very bad fever too,' I said.
^^ Every word we spoke that night is printed
on my heart."
^'^Poor people, how they have suffered!'
she murmured, in a sort of whisper. ^ Ah 1
they have felt what it is to be in his power as
well as I."
^^As I had come through the gardens, I
returned by them. It was a quiet beautiful
night, and not a sound, not even the flight of
a night-bird broke the stillness.
^•' I went by the fields to Scott's house, and
had got as far as the gate leading into the
orchard, when I heard some one shout ^ Ilalloa ! '
and a minute after a man came up panting to
where I stood.
300 The EarPs Promise,
^' It was Brady.
'^ I want to have five minutes' talk with you,
sir,' he began, when he had recovered his
breath a little, ' but not here. Walk on with
me a bit down the road, where we shall be
out of the way of eaves-dropping.'
^^ He had been so lately engaged in the same
business that the word came naturally to
'' To cut a long tale short, Miss Moffat,
his journey to Dublin had been all a blind.
He wanted," he said, '' to know if the stories
he was told of what went on in his absence
were true, and he had returned to learn more
than he bargained for.
" He went on for a time more like a madman
than anything else ; but at last calmed down
a little, and said if I would promise him not to
deliver Mrs. Brady's message he would over-
look her ^ Judasism ' — so he styled her at-
tempt to save her friends from ruin.
" This I flatly refused. I told him she had
asked me to help her ; and, heaven helping me,
I would — "
Tiw Interviews. xoi
The speaker stopped suddenly — lie had been
overwrought ; he had been like a horse going
across country till now ; and now there came
a double ditch, he remembered he ought not
to have forgotten.
^^Miss Moffatj" he slowly recommenced,
^^ after that came something I hesitate to tell
*^ Tell me," she said. ''It does not matter
that I am young instead of old. If it can help
Nettie, it cannot hurt me."
" He bade me take her if she would. He
said I had his full leave, and free to rid him of
a wife who had been his curse from the day
he brought her home — whom he hated — whom
he might some day, and that soon, be tempted
'* Yes ! " gasped Grace.
'' And I said I would rid her of him that
hour and that minute ; for that I loved, and
honoured, and respected her too much to make
her name a bye-word and a reproach, and that
I would take her straight away from Mary-
ville to her own kith and kin at Woodbrook^
302 The EarVs Pro^nise,
where there were two men who would know
how to protect a woman's fair fame from a
ruffian like himself."
'' Yes ! '' said Grace again breathlessly. The
end was at hand.
'-'- 1 turned to go back to Maryville. I swear to
you, Miss Moffat, I should never have quitted
the house, leaving her at his mercy, for I knew
what she had to expect ; but he barred my
'^ ^ You villain,' he said, ^ you shall never
stir from here alive.'
'-'- He put his hand in his pocket — I knew he
went armed — and so I shortened the stick I
held, turning it, and struck him over the head
with the heavy end.
" I did not try to kill the man, God is my
witness of the fact. In my examination I
stated the simple truth. A man who meant
to do mischief with such a blow could scarcely
have dealt it. He dropped down on the
instant, and then a horror seized me. I flung
away the stick and knelt down beside him, and
felt his pulse, and laid his cheek to mine.
Two Interviews. 303
^^ He was dead, and I had killed him. I
heard footsteps coming and fled, thinking
every moment some one was pursuing me. I
have felt the same thing ever since. To-night
you, Miss Moffat, have realized the ideal —
that is, the end of the story I had to tell," he
said in a low suppressed voice.
But Grace had something still to ask.
^^Mr. Hanlon," she began, ^' what did you
mean to do about Amos Scott ?"
'-'- 1 meant to let him stand his trial, and if
they found him guilty — confess."
'^ You are sure of that ? "
'' Yes, I think so."
^^Then I think not, Mr. Hanlon," she
said. '^ As the temptation mastered you so
far, it would have mastered you further ; and
we may all feel very thankful that tlu^ough
Mrs. Brady's illness, you have been saved from
so fearful an ordeal."
The words might be cruel, but the tone in
which they were uttered toolc all bitterness
out of them. It conveyed lestr" a reproach for
his cowardly selfishness than a feeling of
304 The Earlh Promise,
gratitude that Scott's torture was -well- nigh
over, without it being necessary for Mr. Han-
Ion to criminate himself, or Nettie to denounce
him. That she woukl have done so eventually,
Grace could not doubt ; but whether before or
after the trial was another question. In any
event it was well neither of them had been
called upon to save Scott by such extreme
By this time Miss Moffat and her com-
panion had reached the plantations which
divided the grounds of Maryville from the
" Do not come any further," she said
pausing. '^ I would rather you did not."
He attempted no remonstrance, but stood
silent before her.
^^By eight o'clock to-morrow morning," she
said, '' the letter I spoke of shall be in your
He did not speak ; he made no sign for a
moment, then suddenly he broke out wildly, —
^^ I cannot go ; it is useless. You ask more
from me than I am able to do."
Two Interviews, 305
Utterly astounded ; utterly at a loss as to
what he meant she remained mute, till sud-
denly comprehension came to her.
^^ Surely," she exclaimed, ^^ you cannot be
so mad as to imagine Mrs. Brady would ever
voluntarily look upon your face again ! "
" Forgive me," he entreated humbly. '•^ I
was no more to blame for that outbreak than
the patient who shrinks under the sui-geon's
knife. I know what I have to do, and I will
do it. May God bless you for helping me
upon my weary way."
He was turning to go without further leave-
taking, when she held out her hand.
^^Miss Moffat, you forget," he said.
•' No, I do not forget," she answered.
^' Take it as a sign that the old has ended and
the new begun."
Stooping down, he pressed his lips upon it ;
then without uttering a word strode back
along the path he had come.
She stood till she could distinguish his
figure no longer, and watched him through
the darkness drifting out of her life.
VOL. III. X
3o6 The EarPs Promise.
When she reached Maryville, she found Dr.
Girvan waiting for her.
^^ I have come to tell you, Miss MojQPat,'^
he began, '' that I am ashamed of myself, and
whatever may come of it, good or harm, I
will go to him, we both know about, and say
just whatever you bid me."
'^ Thank you a thousand times over," she
answered. ^' But I have been to him to-night,
and he will leave Xingslough to-morrow."
'^ God be praised," exclaimed the doctor
The opportunity was irresistible to Grace.
'^ I hope you are not premature in your
thanksgiving," she said. ^'His successor may
prove as great a thorn in your side as he has
*^ Ah ! how can ye ! " expostulated the old
man, shaking his head reproachfully at her as-
he left the room.
It was September — the loveliest montli of all
the year in Ireland. On the hill-sides the
ripe corn stood gathered into golden sheaves.
In the meadows — whence the small stacks had
just been carried, to make the great ricks
that caused many an humble farmyard to look
full and wealthy — cattle browsed the rich pas-
ture in a very ecstasy of content. Clear and
distinct the summits of the distant mountains
could be seen rising to meet the blue cloudless
sky. Almost without a ripple, the Atlantic
washed gently into sheltered bays, over
sandy and pebbly shores. With as easy a
3o8 The EarPs Promise.
flight as that of the sea-birds, the white-sailed
vessels in the offing cleft their homeward or
outward way ; whilst, on the hill-tops, the
purple heather and the yellow gorse mingled
their colours together, and wild thyme gave
forth its perfume in solitudes where there was
no passer-by to inhale its fragrance.
On the top of a slight eminence, from which
the ground, clad in a robe of emerald green,
sloped down to the water's edge, stood a
lonely-looking house, which commanded a view
— so its admirers said — of the Atlantic straight
away to Newfoundland, — two thousand miles
of ocean without a strip of earth ; two thou-
sand miles of water resting quiet and silent,
waiting for the stormy weather, when the
billows should rise up mountains high, lash-
ing themselves like a lion in his fury, and
rushing white crested to devour their prey.
This house had been taken by Mrs. Hartley
for the autumn, and to it, by slow stages, Mrs.
Brady and Grace Moffat were brought lo
regain health and strength ; the former with
pale face, and hair cut close like a boy's ; the
latter weak as a child, after the mental excite-
ment and bodily fatigue she had gone through.
Ey the time Mrs. Brady was pronounced
out of danger, she had begun to droop ; walk-
ing about Maryville — so Doctor Girvan said — ■
like one more dead than alive, till Mrs.
Hartley came and put a stop to her exertions.
It was marvellous to see the change that
energetic lady wrought in the aspect of affaii's.
Before a fortnight was over she had dis-
covered the house I have mentioned, which
the gentleman who owned was glad to let,
'-'- in order to have the furniture taken care
of," was his way of putting it; she had de-
spatched Marrables, a cook, and her maid to
have all in readiness for the arrival of the
invalids ; she had disposed of Nettie's chil-
dren by sending them to a lady of limited
income, who was " thankful," so she said, ^^ to
have it in her power to do anything to oblige
dear Mrs. Hartley ;" and, finally, she had esta-
blished herself and party at that precise part
of the coast where Doctor Murney stated the
air would be most bracing for Miss MojQPat.
3IO The EarPs Promise.
" Of course," said Mrs. Hartley to Nettie,
" it does not matter to you wliere we go, pro-
vided we leave Maryville."
" ISTo," Mrs. Brady answered ; and that
morning they drove down the gloomy avenue,
and away from the gates of that house which
had proved so wretched to her. She waved
her hand back towards it with a gesture of
'^Good-bye, Maryville," she said; ^^ I may
see you in my dreams, but never again with
my waking eyes, I trust."
They had been but a few days in their new
abode. Nettie, seated near one of the win-
dows, was looking out over the sea ; Mrs.
Hartley was reading the ' Times ; ' Jet, appa-
rently under the impression there was a fire
in the grate, monopolized the hearthi-ug ; and
Grace was lying on a sofa, wondering when
she should be strong enough to bathe, and
walk, and climb to the top of one particular
headland she could not lift her eyes without
'^ I think I should get well at once if I
could only lie for a few hours amongst the
heather, watching the bees as they hum in
and out amongst the thyme," she said at
"We will get some of the fishermen to
carry you up to the top of the highest hill avc
can find, in a creel," suggested Mrs. Erady.
" I wish we could hear of a quiet pony she
could ride," said Mrs. Hartley, in whose eyes
the excursion proposed by IS'ettie did not find
" I don't think a quiet pony was an animal
Gracie ever much appreciated," retorted Mrs.
'^ I am very certain it will be a considerable
time before she is strong enough to manage
an unquiet one," answered Mrs. Hartley.
"You have never told me," said Miss
Mofi'at, turning towards the last speaker,
" how you heard I was ill."
" I heard you were ill," said Mrs. Hartley,
taking off her eye-glasses and looking over
the ^ Times ' at her questioner, " from John
Riley. He said if I did not soon come over
312 The EarPs Promise,
to Maryville I should hear shortly you were
dead. I should have mentioned that fact
before, bat thought you were probably get-
ting as much tired of hearing Mr. Eiley's
name mentioned as I was myself."
" I never intend to speak of John again,"
remarked l^ettie. '' I thought, Mrs. Hartley,
you were his friend ; but I am sorry to find I
''My dear," said Mrs. Hartley calmly, ''I
hope I am Mr. Eiley's friend, but still I can
imagine many things more interesting and
amusing than to hear his virtues recited every
hour in the twenty-four."
" But you do not know all, or half ! IJ^either
of you know how good he has been to me,"
'' If we do not we must be exceedingly dull
of apprehension," replied Mrs. Hartley — at
which Grace laughed, and remarked if they
did not know, it was certainly not for want
of being told.
' ' I never expected anything better from
you," said Mrs. Brady, turning quickly to-
Conclusion, 3 1 3
wards her ; "- you never did appreciate Jolin^
and it seems as if you never would.''
''Well, do not let us lose our tempers about
him," entreated Mrs. Hartley, ''more particu-
larly as he is coming here next week."
"Is he coming ? " asked Grace.
" Yes, to give us what I earnestly hope may
prove the conclusion of the Scott romance. It
seems to me that since I set foot in Ireland I
have heard of nothing but the Scotts, the
Glendares, the Eileys, the Hanlons, and the
Eradys ; interesting people all of them, no
doubt, but I confess I like an occasional change
of person and Id cident."
"So do I," said Grace. "Much as I like
the Scotts, I shall be very glad when I hear
they all are on their way to America."
" As if they could not have gone there as
well at first as at last," observed Mrs.
" I was willing for them to stay on at the
Castle Farm, but Amos would not hear of it,"
explained Mrs. Brady.
"The moment, in fact, he saw he could go
314 The Emdh Promise,
the way he wished without opposition, all
desire to do so ceased," remarked Mrs. Hartley.
^^ Still, I think it very natural he should
wish to leave Ireland," said Grace.
^^Yes, but would not it have been equally
natural for him to wish the same thing eighteen
months ago ? "
" I cannot see it exactly," said Scott's apolo-
gist; and disdaining further argument, Mrs.
Hartley resumed her perusal of the ^ Times.'
From the foregoing conversation it will be
inferred, and rightly, that influence had been
at work in the Scott and Hanlon affair. The
former was already at liberty, the latter be-
yond the reach of justice; at least, so far away
that justice might be excused for not finding
him. J^ettie had made her statement, but this
was so managed that those parts of the story
which might have compromised her were kept
in the background, and as no one wished to
bring Mr. Hanlon to trial, it was extremely
unlikely they would ever be elicited in Court.
To the wretched parents at Hanlon's-Town
John Eiley had broken the news himself. He
liad taken all care and trouble off [N'ettie, and
slie clung to him in her distress as a child
might have done.
To him, nothing in Ireland seemed so unreal
as the sight of Nettie in her widow's cap and
black gown trimmed heavily with crape to ex-
press her mourning for the worst man and the
worst husband, as Mr. Eiley believed, who
About l^ettie herself, however, there was no
^'I cannot say I am sorry," she confessed;
^' I cannot feel sorry. I wish I could, for oh !
John, with all my heart and soul I loved him
when T was a girl."
^^ Poor Nettie ! poor little woman ! I never
repented but once making him marry you," he
answered, stroking her thin face, '^and that
has been ever since."
" You did it for the best," she answered,
^^ and in the worst of my trouble I never
Why was it, Grace Moifat asked herself,
that Avlien she saw the cousins talking confi-
^i6 The EarVs Promise.
dentially together — saw John carry IS'ettie
in her first convalescence from room to
room, her head resting on his shoukler, her
arm thrown around his neck in her helpless
weakness — a pain went through her heart such
as had never strucls: it before ?
^^Am I jealous?" she thought, with an
uneasy laugh, '' jealous of John! Absurd!
Am I jealous of seeing another woman prove
more attractive than myself? Yes, my dear
Grace, that is what is the matter. You are
growing old, and have got lean and ugly, and
you cannot bear that your friend should,
notwithstanding the troubles she has passed
through, keep her good looks whilst you are
losing yours. That is the secret of all this
dissatisfaction. Time was when you would
have laughed such an idea to scorn, in the
" "When I was young,
And had suitors, a full score."
Meanwhile Mrs. Hartley looked on, but said
nothing; not to Nettie, not to John, not to
Grace did she speak on the subject.
Conclusion. 3 1 7
Only to Lord Ardmorne did she open her
'-'- 1 think if we have patience, my lord/' she
remarked uttering her oracle, '-'• we shall see
what we shall see."
At which his lordship smiled with a gravity
befitting his station and his political opinions,
and said, he '-'- earnestly hoped so."
John Eiley came as Mrs. Hartley said he
would. He had seen the Scotts off. He went
to Liverpool for the purpose. Amos was dis-
turbed in his mind because at the last minute
Mr. Moody had informed him there were no
long-handled spades to be had in America, and
he wished he had taken half-a- dozen out with
Mrs. Scott bade Mr. Eiley say, if it cost
twenty pounds, she would send the first cheese
she made in the new coimtry to Miss Grace.
They had only one regret — that they could not
take Eeuben's grave with them.
"- When I promised to put up a headstone
and have the grass well kept," added Mr. Eiley,
''they began to cry; but they were tears of
happiness, so Mrs. Scott assured me."
3i8 The EarPs Promise.
Before Mr. Eiley left, the quiet pony Mrs.
Hartley had wished for was found ; and Grace,
taken by many devious paths to the top of a
very high hill, where a throne was made for
her amongst the purple heather, and the bees,
as if to do her honour, never ceased humming
in and out amongst the fragrant thyme.
But it was not there or then, with Xettie
flitting round and about them, that John Eiley
He waited till the leaves on the trees en-
circling Woodbrook had put on their October
tints — till Grace was almost strong again —
till it had been decided Nettie and her chil-
dren were to go to England with Mrs. Hartley,
and inhabit a cottage portly Mr. Marrables
was despatched to inspect and of which he con-
descended to approve, — waited till the purple
had faded from the heather and the Atlantic was
beginning its winter wail of woe ; then as they
walked together by the sea, he said, —
" Lord Ardmorne has shown me how to save
Woodbrook. It will require years — energj^
and hard work — but it may be done. When
Mr. Brady found lie could not oust out my
father, lie wrote to Lord Ardmorne who
would, he concluded, purchase the estate,
offering to tell him, for a share in the profits,
how its value might be doubled.
"To this his lordship wrote, declining all
communication with him on any subject what-
" Since Mr. Brady's death, it has been as-
certained what his scheme was, and Lord
Ardmorne proposes I should take Wood-
brook into my own hands, paying my father
a certain sum sufiicient to enable him, my
mother, and the girls, to live comfortably, and
myself carry out Mr. Brady's design. He has
also offered me the agency of all his Irish
estates, as Mr. Walshe has been given over
by the doctors."
'' And you will accept the agency and do as
he so kindly suggests, of course?" said Grace,
wondering why he paused so abruptly.
"It is not of course," he answered ; " for
the decision rests with you."
"With me," she repeated; "what caD I
have to do with the matter ? "
320 The EarPs Promise,
'^ Everything,'' lie said. ^' Grace, once be-
fore you refused me, and I went to India ; if
you refuse me again, I cannot stay in Ireland.
With you I could accomplish what I have
said — without you success would be worthless.
If you say stay, I stay. If you say go, I go ;
and when once my father dies there will never
be a Eiley at Woodbrook again.''
She hesitated and turned her head away,
then with eyes still averted put out her hand
timidly and shyly.
^' Am I to stay ? " he asked, taking it in both
And she whispered ^' Yes."
^' I have heard such a wonderful piece of
news " said Mrs. Hartley, as John Eiley and
Grace entered the house together.
'-'- What is it ?" asked the former, thinking it
could not be'one-half so wonderful as the piece
of news he had to tell ; but with which, to do
the lady's discrimination justice, Mrs. Hartley
was already aufait
'^ Cecil, Earl of Glendare is really married.
and Mr. Eobert Somer ford's chances of suc-
ceeding to the title are — nil. He is so dis-
gusted at the turn affairs have taken that he
has threatened to enlist if his mother and Mr.
Dillwyn do not make some suitable provision
" He ought to have gone to work and made
a suitable provision for himself years ago," re-
marked Grace, running upstairs to take off her
"She has promised to marry you?" said
" She has, indeed ! "
It was quite true, and yet he felt scarcely
able to realize to himself that the waves which
once sung so sad a requiem to the hopes of his
early manhood, had now murmured an accom-
paniment to the sweetest melody he ever heard
proceed from human lips.
*^ Yes." That was the beginning and middle
and end of the song ; but it never ceased to
gladden him through all the years that fol-
lowed. And when John Kiley forgets the
sweet music he heard where the Atlantic
VOL. III. Y
32 2 The EarVs Promise.
washes that northern shore — the music which
has made his life one long continuous har-
mony—he will have forgotten every sound of
PEINTED BY TAYLOB AND CO.,
tlilliE QUEEN SISEET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS,
UNIVERSITY OF ILUNOIS-URBANA
3 0112 052905988